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Gay dating on the iPhone

Grindr's main search page. Only the hottest boys in whatever town this is apparently...As someone who is admittedly rather tethered to my iPhone I am all kinds of ready for gay dating to make its way to the location based computer god in your pocket. But, as usual, Grindr (iTunes link), released today, is only for the boys.

I suppose in reality you don’t need this service in Portland because on any given night you pretty much know where are the queer people are going to be, but as someone with occasional social awkwardness (which is also not unusual in this town) a technical crutch might be a handy aide.

Beyond the merit of the application itself it is a sad reality that we must also be concerned about security. This part particularly relevant in light of the recent hate crime so close to home.

While privacy is an issue for all location based social networks, it is of the utmost importance on gay networks. Without proper security measures, bigots could easily download such applications and use them to pinpoint targets for hateful slurs and potentially even violence. Grindr deals with these issues by obscuring a user’s absolute location by default. Rather than plotting each user on the map. Grindr displays how far away they are (distances can range from a few feet to miles away).

The application presents users with a list of nearby strangers, arranged in a grid of photos (you can click on a photo to see their personal profile). From here, users can strike up a real-time chat. If they decide they like their new acquaintance, they can they optionally choose to reveal their exact location.

Though dating sites are numerous the gay community are active, techie, and often fiercely loyal. So though tech writers might fear competition from the likes of match.com I think Grindr is in a great spot to nab the market. Now can we have a lady, trans, and genderqueer version? Pretty please?

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