|Initial release||March 25, 2009|
|Stable release||2.1 / July 1, 2014|
|Operating system||Apple iOS and Android|
Grindr is a geosocial networking application geared towards gay, bisexual, and bi-curious men. It runs on iOS and Android. 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's 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.
Grindr was the first gay geosocial app to launch in the iTunes App Store and has since become the largest and most popular gay mobile app community in the world. It is currently available in 192 countries.
Though based in the United States, the app quickly gained worldwide popularity through word of mouth and various media outlets. 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. Beyond the U.S. and Australia, founder Joel Simkhai 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 in 2009 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 2012 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 also introduced an added filter called Grindr Tribes, allowing users to identify themselves with a niche group and narrow their searches to help find their type of man. Grindr Tribes include: Bear, Clean-cut, Daddy, Discreet, Geek, Jock, Leather, Otter, Poz, Rugged, Trans and Twink. In additional to Tribes, Grindr users can also filter by Age and Looking For.
As of Grindr’s fifth anniversary on March 25, 2014, the app had achieved more than 10 million user downloads and had more than 5 million active monthly users worldwide.
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. Grindr Xtra also allows users to filter men using more criteria than the free version of the app, which only allows for filtering by age. These filters include criteria such as age, height, weight, body type, ethnicity, looking for, and relationship status. Users have the option to renew their subscription via iTunes in one-, three-, six-, and twelve-month purchases.
Grindr Xtra subscription costs doubled on two occasions in the nine-month period of July 2012 – April 2013.
Grindr for Equality
In 2012, the operators of Grindr 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 recently been cited by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2015) as one of several ‘apps that promote illicit drug use’ (see Bindham et al 2014) via the actions of some drug-using members who supply drugs and/or share drug experiences using the app.
Grindr has been criticized from programming and sociological viewpoints.
Grindr has been known to drop messages. Unlike most 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. Some users have found these issues to be recurring impediments, where conversations are aborted due to no fault of either conversing party. These issues are prevalent enough for some users add to their profile "not getting all messages".
The Android version of the app has a substantial number of negative reviews stemming from unresolved issues, but has increased to a 3.5 star rating, as of January 2015. 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.
In August 2014, it was revealed that nearly every user of Grindr could be accurately located by third parties without authentication within a few meters.
This was made possible by trilateration, since Grindr has made the distance information without restriction available. A proof of concept has been published and more than 2 million detections were performed within a few days. One unofficial client allows any logged in user to pinpoint other user's exact location.
Only after massive public protest from the LGBT community and the appearance of reports that the Egyptian police uses Grindr to hunt gay people, Grindr has responded and globally disabled distance display.[dubious ] As of May 10, 2015, distance display has been re-enabled and location pinpointing is still possible.
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.
In June 2014 when asked about the offensive and racist speech on Grindr, the app's creator Joel Simkhai said in an interview with the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz he "didn't like it" but he "[isn't] a sixth grade teacher" and it "[isn't his] job to police such things".
Holocaust Memorial imagery
In January 2013, a controversy 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 dating 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 honour the memory of those who perished in others ways outside of the app.”
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