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Google tests Who's Down, an app for broadcasting your total alienation

Google tests Who's Down, an app for broadcasting your total alienation


How do you do, fellow kids?

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You're a teen, and you're down. But how is anybody else supposed to know that? Enter Who's Down, a new invite-only app from up-and-coming social networking company Google, Inc. The app, which is more or less a direct rip of Danny Trinh's Free, lets you broadcast your down-ness to fellow teens by tapping a toggle to signal your immediate availability for whatever. If your friends continue ignoring you, you can invite them to specific categories of hangouts, either by choosing from a Google recommendation ("Anyone down to grab tacos?") or proposals of your own (Netflix and chill?)

The app, which was first spotted by 9to5 Google, is available for iOS and Android. It's not to be confused with Down, previously known as Bang With Friends, although you can assume it will be used for more or less the same purpose. If you attempt to sign up for Who's Down, Google asks you to enter your email address and your school, suggesting the app is aimed at a younger crowd. "We're not down to share more details just yet, but check out this page for more info in the meantime," the company told us in an email.

Without knowing what Google is thinking here, my best guess is that Who's Down represents the company's effort to build inroads among young people with messaging apps, an increasingly lucrative space where it lags far behind rivals like Facebook (Messenger, What'sApp) and Apple (iMessage). If it's successful, some of its features could migrate to Google's Hangouts app. If not, well, spring cleaning is always just around the corner.

The app is now available for download, assuming you're down.

This article has been updated to include comment from Google.