Follow me on Twitter: Let's get business out of the way: Last week, the tech world was quite rightly salivating over Tinder, the buzzy online-dating app that's not even two years old. In the end, denials were issued over the price paid, and now no one is sure exactly how many millions Tinder is worth. But let's move on to pleasure. Beyond the multi-million-dollar valuation, does the app actually work as a dating service? Its creators promise a scaled-back experience that eases the social anxiety for those who practise the fickle art of online dating.
At the same time they concede that the simplified entry point to Tinder — rating user photos — may be too shallow an introduction.
Yet something about this concept is already clicking with many smartphone users. As of March, Tinder, in lieu of disclosing user numbers, said it's made one-billion matches in just 18 months. Founder and CEO Sean Rad is also reported to have told a conference that, every day, app-users make million matches and million swipes more on that in a second , and spend an average of one hour with it.
Here's a guide to understanding the latest iteration of how people meet people online. Tinder is an app you download on your iOS or Android device, and access using your Facebook account.
The platform is completely mobile. You're fed a photo stream of potential matches from the database, selected using a basic set of search parameters: Its premise is based on swiping left or swiping right: Say you load a picture of a local gent named Cliff, You can click to see more of my photos. Beyond that, the only morsels of information available are any mutual Facebook interests we might like the same neighbourhood bar and mutual Facebook friends.
But at any point you can swipe the screen — left for "no," or right for "yes. What happens if you swipe right?
Nothing — at first. Tinder's magic happens when the app recognizes that two people have swiped "yes" to one another. At this point they've created a match, and only then will Tinder allow them to chat. By using Facebook to log in, Tinder bypasses the agonizing process of crafting the perfect profile, which is often the biggest barrier to online dating. Instead, it uses your existing Facebook data and photos to populate a profile.
Within minutes of first using the app, you're ready to see who's out there without even having to consider your pained opening line. It' s not awkward. Tinder has somehow turned a crude concept into its touchstone appeal. The way it makes matches is essentially a version of Hot or Not: Are you attracted to my profile picture? But by taking out one key part of the equation — no one is implicitly identified as a Not — and tweaking another delaying the gratification of knowing one is Hot , Tinder has created a uniquely positive dating environment.
It takes the onus off one party to initiate with a poke, wink or expectation-filled message, and forces both people to meet in the middle. It's not so serious. While there is still a social stigma attached to online dating, often relegating the topic to hushed chatter among close friends, Tinder's casual nature has made it a conversation-starter. It was a star of the Sochi Olympics as athletes admitted, with much enthusiasm, the app was a huge hit in the village.
Take out a smartphone at the bar and friends can swipe through potential matches as a group activity. At Tinder's current rate of growth, the dinner-party question du jour might be: Does app theory match reality? The Globe asked Canadian users whether the Tinder formula worked for them.
Here are some of the responses some names have been changed:. How many of these matches have you met in real life? What do you think of Tinder? Especially in comparison to other dating sites and apps Blendr, plentyoffish. I find it easier to talk to women on this site because they are as interested in matching with you as you are with them.
On other sites, it's very difficult for guys to send messages to women because a lot of guys tend to be direct and dirty, so if you are a normal guy … you don't have much of a chance. That you are able to see a list of who you said yes and no to. What if you made a mistake! Have you had any more or less success at meeting people on Tinder?
I can't say I've had an amazing or terrible experience. Nothing has really stood out yet. Who would you say is the type of person who would like using Tinder? Someone who doesn't essentially know what they are looking for, but know they want to look for something. Is Tinder the real deal when it comes to online dating?
I've found more success on other sites, but this one is the most fun. A mostly laid-back, easy-going guy who can pretty much get along with anyone. I say technically, because I'm seeing a few people but not in a relationship.
You may as well call it single. The app is total garbage. I've missed so many messages and it's a total user-experience nightmare, especially in comparison to OkCupid, which is my primary online-dating tool. I wish the app matched people in the background rather than having a pop-up each time. I've met four people on Tinder in real life: In terms of my two dating experiences, they were right around the same time.
One gent was a fair bit older than me. We tried to connect to go out for a few weeks and eventually went for dinner on the Dundas West strip. I then took him to a bar, because I wasn't ready to end the date. Not to be judgmental, but he ordered a Jack and Diet Coke. We went on a subsequent date to lunch because it was hard to get our schedules to mesh. The entire time I basically watched the news playing in the background because he made me want to stab my eyes out, he was so dull.
I guess any guy who owns two Basset Hounds is an immediate red flag. The other guy was closer to my age. He also works in a similar industry and we have a lot of mutual friends. This guy liked to get really drunk and send really sad text messages. He once showed up at a friend's show unannounced and tagged along to the afterparty. When I went inside to get beers, he apparently took a swig of whisky from a random person's flask and then disappeared. I tried to get a hold of him and heard back from him about half an hour later, when he told me that he had gone home.
I cabbed over to his place and stood outside in the rain for 10 minutes, waiting for him to come down and let me in. Bumble distinguishes itself from Tinder in one key way: The main mechanism through which it achieves this is as follows: This additional protection against weak "hey sexi" openers means that the app is gaining the attention of an increasing number of women — and if Bumble is where all the women are, it's probably where you want to be. It's fair to say that Bumble is Tinder's fiercest competition.
Read our full Bumble review. CMB absolutely cleaned up in its AskMen review, garnering a whopping overall score of 9. This app is a better fit for users who are looking to date seriously than those who are just seeking a casual hookup , although the latter is still certainly possible. It caters for the former group by linking like-minded people with similar social circles by matching users based on their friends-of-friends on Facebook.
CMB seeks to make your app-based dating experience efficient and pleasant, so it limits your potential matches to about 30 per day. Similarly to Bumble, there's a time-limited chat section where chat opportunities expire, which helps to get things off the ground quickly and avoid the problem of dead-end matches.
Perhaps the best benefit of all, though, is the fact that CMB is one of the only dating platforms with more female members than males — no wonder the app's user base is growing at such a rapid clip. Check out Coffee Meets Bagel. Read our full Coffee Meets Bagel review. The main factor setting The Grade apart from the competition is that it actively filters out creepy, time-wasting users, like men who send unsolicited dick pics or women who match with you but never respond to your messages.