September 23, 2012
Location-Based Mobile Apps Changing Face Of Online Dating Services
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online
While many online dating services promise exhaustive screening processes for those looking for meaningful relationships and possible long-term commitments, new GPS-based smartphone dating apps are increasing in popularity due to their ability for singles to find each other and hook-up quickly.According to CNN reporter Heather Kelly, apps such as Blendr use the continuous online functionality and location-based features of mobile devices "to turn the smartphone into a wingman of sorts."
These apps give unattached men and women the ability to locate other available singles, who are located nearby, at any given time, "bringing a bit of serendipity back to the Internet dating scene," according to Kelly. "Today's mobile location apps, which work with a phone's built-in GPS, connect lovelorn singles who have something more urgent in common: proximity."
Blendr, which is available for Facebook and on Apple iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads running iOS version 4.0 or later, uses location-based services in order to help users find each other based on similar interests, according to the app's official website. It was created by Joel Simkhai, who also created a similar app for homosexual and bisexual males known as Grindr. Blendr was initially released in September 2011.
According to Kelly, Grindr, which was released in 2009, currently boasts more than one million active daily users in over 190 countries. Blendr has not yet enjoyed that level of success, she noted, but that hasn't stopped other dating services -- including OkCupid ("one of the hipper, younger-oriented dating services," the CNN reporter said), Match.com, and eHarmony -- from also going mobile.
Still, the growth of these GPS-based dating apps has not come without some trepidation.
"Some potential users are hesitant because of safety risks. Experts say to make sure you are only checking in at public places, and always tell someone where you are going," Susan Hogan of WPRI in East Providence, Rhode Island, said earlier this month. "Also, just because you are in the same place as another person on the app, doesn´t mean you have to meet that person right away“¦ send out an email or text if you´re nervous, then just set up another time and place to meet."
"For all these apps, divulging sensitive information like a GPS location raises serious security concerns, such as the potential for stalking or worse," added Kelly. "There are privacy concerns as well. People are frequently unaware of just how much identifying information they post on the Internet by checking into social networks and sharing photos whose metadata reveal where they were taken. As with going to a bar and talking to the first stranger you find with decent hair, people should use caution."