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Google Launches Meetup App Called Who’s Down

Google’s challenge: Convincing users to use an app for hanging out that’s not, you know . . . Hangouts.

Google’s latest standalone app is something unexpected: An event organizer for the offline world. Who’s Down, released this weekend, shows users which of their friends are available for in-person activities.

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According to industry blog 9to5Google, the app’s functionality emphasizes making immediate plans, and some of the preloaded plans give a hint to the intended demographic for this particular project: “Study,” “Grab tacos,” “Go for a hike.” Teenagers and twentysomethings, it seems, are the target market.

The app, which is available in both Android and iOS iterations, faces one big challenge: Other players have tried to make apps with nearly the same purpose and functionality in the past, with little success at scaling to a large number of users. An app called Shortnotice that works very similarly to Who’s Down was released last year; there are several small apps that target the space as well.

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