Any gay man with an iPhone will have heard of Grindr.  But since not everyone is gay, and not everyone has an iPhone (although based on my observations of San Francisco, everyone who is gay has one), here’s the run down for you:

  • Grindr is an app for the iPhone (although Grindr for Blackberry is coming soon).
  • It is a simple app that allows users to locate (using the iPhones GPS) other nearby users of Grindr.  It shows people in order of distance, with the closest first, as well as showing who is online now.
  • It allows the user to have one profile picture, and a few lines of text as a profile, as well as location details (it shows how far away the person is, not their actual location, but this can be sent by the other user they want to).
  • You can message the other people.
  • You can tag users, so you can re-message them more easily later.
  • And, most importantly, it can (and is) used by guys to meet other gay guys (hook up even?)

It’s certainly been talked about a lot.  The mainstream media (and here), gay media and even gay blogs like Davey Wavey.

It works well for one simple reason: It allows gay guys to find others NEAR them. Online dating/hook up sites are far from new, but the ability to find people near you, and NOW is, at least relatively, new.  And having in a mobile device is very new .  Well actually no, it isn’t!  The idea was tried before – but it needed an actual device, and only worked over a 5m range, and of course had no photos – you just knew a gay guy was near.

Basically it’s the high tech version of gaydar, well at least for those who want to publicice it.

Stuff that still needs work:

  • It doesn’t allow receive messages when offline (ie no push service).  Although you can get this on the paid version called Grindr X.  And even in the free version you can always SEND messages to people offline, who will get them when they next log in.
  • The paid app (Grindr X) is a subscription, not a one off fee.  $US 3 per month (so $36 a year) is WAY too much for an iPhone app. In fact all the comments on the Apple app store say this in one way or another.  I don’t think the makers of Grindr get how apps work.  $5, maybe $10 as a one off, sure.  But no other app I know of charges $36 a year!  And all it offers is push service (nothing else).
  • Needs a way of sorting guys (so for example friends can be marked, guys you know, guys you want to meet etc – colours or tags would do).

Oh, and the The New York Times reported (rather clinically I thought):

A version for heterosexuals is in the works.

Not sure how that one will go.  Time will tell.  I think it might need a new name then.

Black and White Version: Gaydar has gone high tech, thanks to Grindr and the iPhone.

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