As the name suggests, Friendly is a casual app aimed at friendly communication. It is not a dating app precisely, more of a random chat room where you can talk to strangers. If by now you are thinking of something like ChatRandom and Chat Avenue, where you immediately get bombarded with tons of dubious suggestions and half-naked pics, think again. Friendly does keep things decent and, well, pretty friendly.
Besides, unlike most other services to help you meet people, this app is absolutely free of charge. Still, a free product does not always mean a good product. So, is Friendly worth your time? Take a look at our review and decide for yourself.
The first version of the app was introduced to AppStore in 2018, and it looks like the Android version was released the same year. During the first year in both respective stores, Friendly has seen quite a few regular updates and bug fixes. In 2019, things were put on hold, but in 2020, the new round of updates and bug fixes began. Well, at least the developers have not entirely forgotten their creation, which is probably good news for Friendly.
Vivek Kumar is Friendly’s developer. While this entity does not really specialize in chats or any other dating-related products, it does have a few other apps on AppStore and Google Play. Other products include Doc Scanners, calculators, a couple of food delivery apps for Android, and a web browser (also for Android). So, all are relatively simplistic products that could be designed in a mom’s basement within a month.
Today, there are two ways to register with Friendly. Initially, it all went down to Google mail signup (which is still the quickest and easiest option), but now users can also register from scratch, using any other email client (or so this app claims). When signing with Google mail, users don’t need to do anything: they click on the G icon and sign up. That’s it; they can start browsing.
The second, pretty theoretical option, would be to create a profile from scratch, using a good old-fashioned email registration. Technically, for this, newcomers should provide their email, create a user name, and a password. They also must upload a picture (which is not an essential registration step when signing up with Google).
Still, no matter how simple and routine it all sounds, manual registration does not seem to work — at least, not on the iPhone. You get one and the same ‘try again’ message, and that’s it. So, once again, we’re back to where we started — in practice, one can only sign up with a Google account. But it is so thoughtful of them to offer two registration options.
When it comes to profile customization, Friendly does not have too many options as well. Once people sign in with Google, an email will be the only thing users have in their profiles. It is, however, possible to upload a picture and add a phone number. Finally, newcomers can set their gender to either male or female.
The location option is technically present and is indicated with a country flag next to each user’s profile. The biggest bummer with it is that everyone on Friendly has a US flag or no flag at all. We could technically assume that most users come from the States, but since we registered from Europe, we do know it’s all a sham. It’s just that Friendly flag database only has stripes and stars, which is funny for an Indian product. Allergic to the UK or…? Besides, it’s still not clear how accounts without a flag are registered, and from where.
Since this is not a dating app, Friendly will not send you any matches or even chat partner suggestions. All users are free to browse other people’s profiles and initiate chats themselves. For this, one would have to send a friend request — pretty much like people would on Facebook and its messenger. So, there is a separate section on every user’s profile with Sent Friend Requests and Received Friend Requests. Well, at least, that’s not complicated.
Chats are available for free and are pretty standard. There is a separate tab for all messages that looks pretty much like on any other messengers you’ve ever seen.
Technically, there is a search option on Friendly, but in practice, it reminds us of the second, manual registration option. Users can search for friends in a separate tab. For this, however, you first need to get some Friendly friends. And how do you do that? Well, since profiles do not have that much info about users, you will not find any filters here — not even by gender. So, all you can do is take a look at the list of active (online) accounts, send them a friend request, and a ‘hey.’
Once users have some people in their Friends tab, they can search manually, via the search tab. So, searching for people and interacting with them is very random on Friendly. The only upside is that this app seems to list only active accounts — those currently online and those recently online. But, we can’t say for sure how functional it is because even after two weeks of inactivity, our test account still got a few ‘hey’s.
Another bummer is that you cannot delete your Friendly account at all. There is a logout option within the app settings, after which you can sign in back again. Removing the app altogether does not do the trick either. We can’t say for sure if it’s Friendly who keeps all your login data. But even if it doesn’t, your respective mobile store does it for them. So, after reinstalling the app, users still can log in to their Friendly accounts, with all of their histories. The only bright side is that this app does not have any sensitive information, so no worries about privacy.
It’s quite hard to draw any conclusions about Friendly users because this app does not publish any data, not even when it comes to numbers. Still, there is a never-ending feed of available contacts to chat with; on the other hand, neither AppStore nor Google Play has too many reviews of this app (AppStore does not have a single one). So, our estimate would be a few thousand people.
Users are not expected to specify their sexual orientation when they join or even when they fill in their profiles. And, given Friendly’s two-second signing up procedure, we do believe people in its database have all sorts of sexual preferences. Not that it matters, of course — after all, this is neither a dating, nor a hookup app.
Same story here — anyone, from any corner of the world can download Friendly and create an account. However, no one can give any exact stats on its ethnic structure. We have seen quite a lot of pictures from people of different races. But since users do not necessarily have to upload their own photos, who could say?
Friendly is technically a religion-friendly product because this whole app seems pretty decent. Since anyone can join, there is no discrimination of any kind. App content does not have any inappropriate pictures, so it could be ok for the faithful. Still, we do not think any chats there revolve around God.
Friendly is 100% free of charge and does not offer any in-app purchases at all. It does stream plenty of ads, though. They are everywhere — home screen, chats, settings tab — literally everywhere. So, at least, we don’t have to break our heads thinking about this app’s monetization. Besides, there is not much functionality to pay for in the first place. Technically, a more popular app could have offered a paid subscription to remove the ads, but given Friendly’s scare user database, we somehow don’t think anyone would actually go for it.
Another funny fact about this app is that its AppStore age rating is 4+, while Google Play is 18+. However, both versions seem identical, so it’s not quite clear why they would have such a drastic age gap. Of course, a four-year-old would probably find this app boring (just like most 24- or 44-year-olds), but technically Friendly is still children-safe. No ads show any explicit content, and all chats seem appropriate.
Concerning the tech side of things, everything should be fine, too. This app did make it to both major mobile stores, and since their product quality policies are high, we do believe your data is safe with Friendly. Besides, it does not really have any data except your email, avatar, gender, and phone number. More than that, everything except email may not be real. Our test phone number was actually 12345678, so think for yourself how safe this app is.
Friendly profiles have genuine emails, but the rest is shrouded in mystery. As we already mentioned, phone numbers can be obviously invalid, gender can be set to any of the traditional male/female options, and profile picture (if any) can feature anything you like. We haven’t noticed any nude pics, but frankly, we haven’t seen many pics at all.
One more bonus is that this app does not teem with bots. While we did receive a few massages during our test trial, the amount wasn’t alarmingly high. People behind those profiles seem to be quite real and interested in a casual chat. You have that same old — like your pic, who you are, where you come from, etc. But, even though we haven’t seen any scammers, we haven’t seen much communication either. This app simply does not look too popular, so scammers ignore it just as much as genuine users.
Friendly does not have a desktop version and is only available as an app. Neither does it have an official website to represent itself or its developer.
You might have guessed already that this is not the most bug-free or the most functional product. The overall logic behind this app is pretty simple — people log in to make friends and start casual chats. Technically, it should give users all over the globe a chance to chat and mingle. In practice, Friendly remains a forlorn service, with not much action going on.
Theoretically speaking, this app does not look too bad. It has a neat design and unobtrusive interface. There is nothing special or memorable about Friendly, but it does not hurt the eye. Ads do get annoying over time, even though they are positioned either in the app footer or header. It does not crash, but it does have a few glitches. For example, it may unsave phone numbers or forget your gender after updating account information. Chats work fine, though.
There are so many apps and chats you could use instead of Friendly; we’re not even sure where to get started. For casual chats with strangers, check out Chatiw or Chat Avenue. Both have way more users and way more action going on. Note, however, that Chat Avenue is not exactly child-friendly. When looking for something more innocent, E-chat is the best call.
If you are looking for an app to land dates or hookups, there are plenty of specialized platforms for that, starting with Tinder. Users looking to meet people from different cultures can pick any international dating site, targeting any particular country or region; or, they can go with something on a broader scale, like International Cupid.
People looking for love and lasting relationships should check out Match, eHarmony, Chemistry, or OkCupid. All of these come with complex, carefully crafted matching algorithms and compatibility scores.
Finally, those looking for casual hookups and NSA sex, have a multitude of options to consider, from AdultFriendFinder to any other adult site catering to particular kinks.
Friendly is an app designed for friendly chats with random strangers. However, looks like it failed to acquire a large user database in its two years of existence. Of course, things may eventually turn for the better because, objectively, this is not such a bad app, after all. It has a neat design, and a few bugs can be forgiven in a new product. Still, it looks like Friendly’s problem is not with technology or design, but rather with the concept. It is a chatroom to meet people and make new friends, but it does not allow searching for conversation partners by interests or even gender. It’s all random and based on pure luck, so it simply does not seem effective.
Company: Vivek Kumar, developer
Address: 2,Knowledge park 3,Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.INDIA