Best dating apps of May 2017

Top 10 dating apps

How to choose the best dating app

When the Internet was gaining popularity in the 1990s, people started using it to find someone special to date. It was the hip thing to do and it was not before long that online dating services emerged and became very popular with Match.com, the first service of this kind. Soon after, eHarmony, OkCupid, and many more popped up. Millions of people were signing up on these websites to meet new people and potential romantic interests.

Then came the era of dating apps. Tinder may not have been the first dating app, but it totally revolutionized the dating game by suggesting location based matches. Now there are hundreds of dating apps available, some of the most popular being Grindr, Lovoo, Zoosk and Skout, each with some specific features. However, there are some key aspects you should take into account when choosing a dating app.

1. Privacy options

In the pursuit of online happiness, many users of dating apps give away far too much personal information, partaking in very suspicious activities that put their identity at risk. After the 2015 Ashley Madison data breach and hack, many people were reluctant to use dating apps. However, many dating services have enhanced their privacy options to keep their users protected. As mobile dating apps are most susceptible to risk, these services need to ensure that their users are always safe.

Match.com has something called private mode, which makes your dating profile invisible to people whom you do not communicate with. This means that only people whom you initiate a conversation with can view your profile, but others cannot. OkCupid has an incognito feature that works in a similar fashion. Many dating apps, such as Grindr and Coffee Meets Bagel, have a slew of filters that let users decide who can contact them and who cannot. If users want to be found only by certain people, they can set the appropriate filters based on age, sex, height, and various other parameters. As a result, only people that they are interested in can find them. If you want to talk with someone before meeting them in-person (because chats can be risky and misleading), then you can use the call feature of eHarmony. You can call somebody anonymously before meeting them and they will never know your phone number. If you are concerned about your privacy, then make sure to read plenty of reviews for each dating app and check their privacy features before deciding which app to use. Almost all major dating apps are compatible with both Android and iOS, but there some exceptions - Tastebuds, for example, which is available only for iOS.

2. Features

Swiping
Tinder was the first app of its kind to add a swipe feature. In fact, it ushered in other swiping dating apps. Previously, dating apps had a user interface that would list potentially interesting people in descending order based on some attribute. However, Tinder replaced the long list with a large thumbnail image of a person. If you are not interested, then swipe left to see the next image. On the other hand, if you are interested, then swipe right to start chatting with them. This interaction is very engaging and makes it enjoyable to use the app to find a match online. This feature alone separated dating apps from websites, utilizing the power of the smartphone touchscreen. OkCupid emulated this feature in its app and they attained the similar success of Tinder. If you want an easy dating experience, go for an app that lets you swipe. It is fast and easy.

Questionnaires
Several popular dating apps (Plenty of Fish, Meetme, Blendr) have their users answer detailed questionnaires. When users answer these surveys, they are providing detailed profile information about their preferences and tastes. The dating app considers this in its algorithm and finds the best match based on common interests. Case in point, the rising dating app Tastebuds finds out their users’ taste in music by asking them several questions. The app will then match you with somebody who shares your passion for particular genres of music. It adds a spin to the usual survey that only asks for your preferences in physical features and matches you with somebody that fits your requirements.

Behavioral matchmaking
Behavioral matchmaking is a new feature of dating apps that analyzes your in-app preferences and activities to select the profiles that best match your preferences. Did you reject multiple people who have tattoos? Then the app will stop showing you images of people with tattoos. Did you positively react to people who were tall? Then the app will start showing you more people who are tall. Zoosk is one of the first dating apps to incorporate behavioral matchmaking algorithms and improve their suggestions for its users. By monitoring the behavior of users through various variables, Zoosk finds some common patterns, adapting and tailoring the suggestions accordingly. Other apps, like Twine Canvas and Hot or Not have followed suit and now have behavioral matchmaking features.

Photo verification
A typical problematic scenario many people face when using dating apps is being deceived by fake profiles. This is known as catfishing – setting up fake online profiles and interacting with people. Many users in the past have chatted with people online only to eventually find out that the person was a phony. Being catfished was a more common occurrence in the past. Nowadays, apps have found ingenious ways to prevent this from happening. Badoo garnered much attention for its photo verification feature, the first dating app to utilize this security element. When people sign up for Badoo, they must verify their profile with a picture, but not just any old picture. Badoo will ask you to send a very unique photo in which you strike a particular pose (not the peace sign or the tilted head, those are too easy to replicate). Badoo will verify the photo and if it passes the test, the profile is deemed legitimate.

3. Personalization

GPS searches
Almost all dating apps have location-based searches and suggestions. Users can input their current location in the app and the built-in GPS functionality will triangulate the location of nearby app users in your vicinity. The app will offer suggestions and only show you results of people near your location. This makes the entire experience worthwhile. You can even fine-tune the location function to target a specific place, like a park or coffee shop. As you enjoy the afternoon, the app may suggest a match nearby. Then you can strike a conversation with them, either in-app or in-person. The same applies when you set your location to a nightclub or bar as you party at night. The app will inform you if someone on the platform is in the same bar as you. GPS features bring people together when dating online.

Social network integration
Many dating apps started as standalone platforms, where users can socialize. Dating apps like Lovoo, Coffee Meets Bagel, and Skout are good examples of online communities where people meet new people and hopefully create a spark. Many apps now integrate with your existing social networks. Tinder and Hinge completely rely on Facebook to help you find someone. They integrated with Facebook completely to conduct searches. By looking at your network of connections, it will see which of your second degree contacts (the friends of your friends) might be a good match for you, based on your mutual interests. Having a social network integration feature makes it easier and faster for users to find someone to date.

If you are looking for more anonymity, then the lack of social media integration might be better for you. Fortunately, apps like Plenty of Fish have no connection with Facebook, thereby preventing you from being directly matched with somebody you already know. It can be embarrassing when your friends find out you are looking for a romantic interest. You can save yourself the trouble and only appear to those whom you have no connection with at all on Facebook. For some, this characteristic of a dating app is quite important.

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