When it comes to digital dating these days, it’s all about location, location, location (and how flattering your profile picture is, of course). Recently launched mobile dating apps like Soul2Match and Blendr are using GPS technology and sophisticated biometric facial recognition software to help singles connect with potential mates while on the go.
People no longer need to spend hours sitting on their couch in front of a computer sifting through potential love interests. Online dating has gone mobile and it’s changing the way we date. Location and appearance based mobile applications are taking us back to the basics of what brings couples together: physical proximity and attraction.
The question is, with all of this technology at our fingertips – will real women use these applications?
Do you come here often?
Blendr is the mainstream spin-off of Grindr - a popular location based dating app in the gay community that uses GPS technology to track nearby men who are available for “meet-ups.” The application allows you to check in to a location, read through user profiles, chat with people and arrange a time to meet. Blendr uses the same technology but has adapted the application to allow women and men to connect as well.
Whereas Grindr is designed with casual hook-ups in mind, Blendr’s purpose is more vague. The creators of Blendr explain that the app will help users “facilitate new social relationships” while offering “a mobile experience that caters to how women and men communicate to each other.”
Rachel* says that using Blendr is not intuitive because it is so ambiguous. When asked about her first experience using Blendr she says “I logged on I saw a listing of various different people who were available in my area. The confusing part was that women and men were all listed on the same page. Many of the profiles do not list sexual orientation or what they are looking for. I think this application could lead to some very awkward and potentially dangerous situations.”
Read on to find out how new site sets you up with a look-a-like version of yourself...
Digitally tempting fate
Several women cited similar concerns to Rachel: that they just didn’t feel safe using an application where potential predators might know where they are. Rachel adds: “There weren’t very many guys in my area and the ones that were online seemed really creepy. It just didn’t feel safe.”
Despite some women’s safety concerns, the makers of Skout – a leading location-based dating app, anticipate that the popularity of GPS-based apps will continue to grow. They claim that apps like theirs save time by allowing singles to meet based solely on physical attraction and location, creating a more organic user experience, hence their slogan: “With mobile location-enabled dating sites we can make serendipity happen.
Birds of a feather stay together?
If you are not interested in putting yourself serendipity’s way, the new online dating start-up Soul2Match claim that they have a tried and tested way of finding your soul-mate: by matching you up with someone who looks like you.
Soul2Match founders Jorn Eiting and Linda van Liempt, cite scientific studies that show that what we’re really looking for in a soul mate is ourselves. The bottom line is “similarity is attractive.” They refer to research that shows that people are drawn to partners with similar bone-structure, characteristics, life goals, ethnicity and appearance. The more the couple is similar on these points, the happier they are in a relationship.
The application uses biometric software to analyze your facial features and bone structure. The application then matches you with a user in their database and provides a percentage rating on whether you would make a good couple based on how similar your facial features are.
Sandy* recently signed up for Soul2Match and recalls her first experience using the application: “One of my proposed soul mates was a photo of a five-year-old boy wearing a fake moustache. The other was a man who was clearly much older than his listed age of 35. I don’t think we’re meant to take this site seriously.”
It’s unlikely that Soul2Match is the next big thing in online dating however its entertainment value is undeniable. Sandy remarks: “Even though my experience was wildly unsuccessful, I managed to stay on the site for more than an hour checking out all my different matches. Some of the guys were pretty cute. Maybe a small part of me believes digital serendipity can really happen.”
*names have been changed.