|Initial release||March 25, 2009|
|Stable release||2.0 / September 30, 2013|
|Operating system||Apple iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS|
Grindr is a geosocial networking application geared towards gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men. It runs on iOS, BlackBerry OS, and Android devices. Available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play, Grindr comes in both free and subscription-based versions (Grindr Xtra). The app makes use of the device geolocation, which allows users to locate other men within close proximity. This is accomplished through a user interface that displays a grid of representative pictures of men, arranged from nearest to farthest away. Tapping on a picture will display a brief profile for that user, as well as the option to chat, send pictures, and share one's location.
Joel Simkhai, founder of Grindr, stated in an interview with PC Mag that he created Grindr because "gaydar" is unreliable: "As a gay today you don't know who else is gay oftentimes. And so it's hard to figure it out, so I've always kind of wanted a way to find other guys." Scott Lewallen, co-founder of Grindr in an interview with "Online Personals Watch" was asked how they came up with the name. "Oh my gosh. The word Grindr came out of weeks and weeks of just looking at words and looking at concepts. I had a list of maybe 50 words and we just kept circling them and doing different iterations of each word. And we ended up on the word Grindr. It's a unique word. It's short, it rolls off your tongue, and it's memorable."
Though based in the United States, the app quickly gained worldwide popularity through word of mouth and various media outlets. Australia Grindr co-founder Simon Williams of Newcastle, NSW notoriety began an unprecedented marketing impetus by walking Hunter Street and preaching in front of consulting firms, thus catapulting the country into the gay digital application mainstream. On June 18, 2012, Grindr announced that it had officially hit 4 million users in 192 countries across the globe with 1.1 million users online on a daily basis. Joel Simkhai, founder of Grindr, has reported activity in countries as far as Iran, Iraq, Israel and Kazakhstan. As of June 2012, the United States hosts the highest number of Grindr users with 1,558,031, while London topped the list of cities with 350,446 users. British users increased by 30,000 alone after the app was mentioned by Stephen Fry on the popular TV show Top Gear.
In January 2011, Grindr won the award for "Best Mobile Dating App" at the iDate Awards 2011. Grindr announced in March 2011 that a straight version of the application was under development temporarily titled Project Amicus.
In January 2012, Grindr announced it was named the winner of TechCrunch's 2011 Crunchies Award for Best Location Application at the Fifth Annual Crunchies Awards Ceremony in San Francisco at The Davies Symphony Hall.
Separately, Grindr was crowned the winner of the 2012 iDate Awards in two of the 12 categories for Best Mobile Dating App and Best New Technology at the ninth annual Dating Industry & Internet Dating Conference in Miami.
In April 2012, Grindr announced that About.com's readers named Grindr the Best Dating App for the 2012 About.com Readers' Choice Awards, with 74 percent of readers choosing Grindr over Are You Interested, SKOUT, Tagged, Tingle and Zoosk. In 2011, About.com added the Best Dating App category, and out of all the nominees, Grindr is the only exclusively gay app to be nominated – not to mention the first gay app to win the coveted title of Best Dating App.
Additionally, both Grindr and Blendr were selected as Official Honorees of the 16th Annual Webby Awards for award-winning work in the Social (handheld devices) category. Out of nearly 10,000 entries received from all 50 US states and over 60 countries, the Official Honoree distinction is awarded only to the top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement.
In August 2013, Grindr released an updated version of the app which requires users to create an account. Grindr says this was done to reduce spam and improve portability. This new version also adds iPhone 5 screen support, so users on newer iOS devices such as the iPhone 5 no longer see black bars along the top and bottom of the screen when using the app.
On September 30, 2013, Grindr released version 2.0 and began rolling it out on the iOS and Android. The user interface has been redesigned and brings stability improvements, a new endless scrolling feature, larger grid images and a unified chat inbox.
Grindr Xtra is the advertisement-free, subscription version of Grindr, which makes use of the Apple Push Notification Service. Additionally, Grindr Xtra contains features such as loading up to 300 users at once, unlimited blocking of other users and quickly swiping between profiles. Users have the option to renew their subscription via iTunes in one-, three-, six-, and twelve-month purchases.
Grindr Xtra subscribtion costs doubled on two occasions in a 9-month period in July 2012 - April 2013.
Grindr is available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and the following Blackberry models: Curve 8300, Curve 8310, Curve 8320, Curve 8330, Curve 8330m, Curve 8350i, Curve 8520, Curve 8530, Curve 8900, Bold 9000, Tour 9630, Bold 9650, Bold 9700, Torch 9800.
Grindr for Equality
In 2012, the operators of Grindr have used the service to deliver 'Grindr for Equality', geotargeted information about political campaigns and the views of candidates on LGBT-related issues.
Controversy and criticism
Grindr has been criticized from programming and sociological viewpoints.
Grindr frequently drops messages. Still to date, unlike all other free apps in the same genre Grindr doesn't relay back to the user that a message has (or has not) been delivered to the recipient. Many conversations are aborted due to no fault of either conversing party. Due to this many users add to their profile "not getting all messages".
The Android version of the app has an overwhelmingly large number of negative reviews. In August 2013, Grindr released an update that requires users to verify their accounts by providing a valid email address and creating a password to resolve user issues.
In January 2012, the program was hacked and hundreds of thousands of users' personal information became vulnerable to exploitation. Based on Grindr’s ongoing investigation, the company took legal and technological actions to block a site that violated their terms of service. The site impacted a small number of primarily Australian Grindr users and it remains shut down.
Offensive / racist speech
There is criticism that many users of the app use what some find to be offensive, racist, and/or homophobic language. Some examples include putting in profiles "No Asians", "No Blacks" or "No femmes", and referring to people of color as food, such as "No chocolate", "No curry", and "No rice". Grindr users can list race in their preferences, but can be banned for posting material perceived to incite racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind. However, Grindr has been accused of lax enforcement of profiles that use the language as cited above, having stated that it considers statements such as "No Blacks" to be only sexual preference, and not racist. On the other hand, Grindr removes profile text that includes foul language or if it is too adult. Grindr claims that a large team of moderators enforce the application's policy guidelines, and that the company encourages its users to state what they are looking for as opposed to what they are not looking for, however many users of the application do not believe these policies are commonly enforced or encouraged as much as is claimed.
In February 2013, a Canadian book reflecting on Grindr's effect on user behaviour was released called Meet Grindr. The book suggests the design of Grindr as playing a role in exacerbating the problems that cause Grindr to be criticized. On the NPR show "On The Media," author Jaime Woo said that having only one photo and a short description on Grindr doesn't provide enough information about the user beyond the visual and could exacerbate the need to conform to standards of beauty.
Grindr user profiles used in Holocaust Memorial
In January 2013, a controversy has sparked after the blog Totem and Taboo posted a collection of profile pictures from Grindr, taken at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. The emerging trend met with mixed responses - while Grindr's CEO was "deeply moved" by how app members "take part in the memory of the holocaust," others found using the memorial as a backdrop for hook up profiles to be disrespectful. Later, Grindr stated that “what started as users expressing themselves on a topic not often discussed in social networking profiles, has now become disrespectful.” They added that the company “strongly encourage our users to engage in a respectful manner and honor the memory of those who perished in others ways outside of the app.”
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- How Grindr has transformed users' experience of intimacy
- Overrun by spambots, gay dating app Grindr to end anonymous signups
- HIV researchers use Grindr to recruit participants
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