Grindr, the revolutionary iPhone, BlackBerry and Android application for the gay community is to launch a mainstream version of their social networking concept.
Grindr has more than 1.65 million regular users in 180 countries worldwide, with London being the app’s most popular city.

The application is essentially a hyper local dating service, listing 100 gay guys together with their photographs by their distance in metres from the user.
The new application, Project Amicus will offer similar functionalities, allowing users to discover other users who are close to their current location.

“Users love our existing location-based mobile experience, and we recognize the demand for a mainstream app,” Grindr founder Joel Simkhai said in a press release
“We’re thrilled to continue harnessing the power of location to deliver a compelling new global platform that fundamentally changes and improves the way we meet new people.”

Grindr has come under some criticism for promoting sexual promiscuity as the service can be used, should the user wish to find sexual partners with relative ease. Others have warned about personal safety, Daniel Gomez, Community Engagement Manager at The Lesbian & Gay Foundation said: “Programmes like Grindr are the new ‘Gay Bar’ of the millennium. But words of caution…use common sense when meeting up with men from the internet. We sometimes forget that it doesn’t always do what it says it does on the tin! I think sometimes it’s easy to forget, that not everyone has the same intentions you do when looking to meet men online”.

Grindr’s founder Joel Simkhai defended his application in an interview with PinkNews.co.uk last month: “As a company we employ moderators to monitor content, but Grindr users are no more vetted than the ones you meet in bars or clubs. Do we encourage promiscuity? Not at all, the platform we provide is neutral in that sense. We simply make it easier to meet people, be that for friendship, dating or otherwise. We’ve even had a Grindr user get help to fix his broken down car using our app.”
It is unclear yet whether the Grindr phenomenon will translate easily to a mainstream location based service.

Recently launched Ditto connects you to your Facebook friends who are near you, as does Facebook’s own Places application. These applications reinforce your existing, real world relationships.

Project Amicus will connect you to strangers who happen to be near you, just like its older sibling Grindr. But Grindr, for some serves a specific need, meeting partners. Even if you’re not using Grindr for sex, you can use it to meet people who you already have something really important in common with, your sexual orientation. Unless it lists people based on their interests, backgrounds and occupation, Project Amicus might struggle to to live up to the success of its big brother.

This article was first published on Channel4.com/BenjaminCohen