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You’re waiting in line at the deli when your phone buzzes.
The new dating app you downloaded has arisen from slumber to alert you that somebody thinks you’re cute. But it’s not your pouty-faced avatar that caught their attention–it was the way you smiled at them in the snack aisle earlier.
Grindr is a geosocial networking application (or app) geared towards gay and bisexual men, designed to help them meet other men in their area. Available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play, Grindr comes in both free and subscription-based versions (the latter called Grindr Xtra).
The app’s purpose, according to the tag line that displays when you load the app, is to help you “find the people you’ve crossed paths with.” When you tap the profile of a nearby user, the app shows you a map of where you nearly encountered each other.
Happn offers users a form of digital flirtation called “charms.” If you haven’t matched up yet, you can send somebody a charm to get their attention. Once those are used up, you can purchase 10 more for $1.99. The close physical proximity between users could raise concerns that things could inch toward stalker territory, or at least result in harassment, especially considering that, by default, Happn has users list their job title and place of employment.
This is accomplished through a user interface that displays a grid of representative photos 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.
Depending on whether or not the admiration is mutual, a scenario like this is either exciting or potentially creepy. Today, Happn is launching locally in San Francisco at Facebook’s F8 conference.