Tinder is a free mobile dating app that builds profiles out of users' Facebook profiles. This is basically a "hot-or-not" ranking system based on a picture of potential matches in nearby locations but protects against unwanted contacts.
Tinder is a free dating app for smartphones that gets mixed reviews: positive from users who seem to be seeking short-term encounters and negative from users who bemoan the superficiality of a match system that's all about physical appearance. The naysayers assert in Tinder reviews, like these at Venture Beat, that the site attracts people with off-putting and cavalier attitudes about dating and relationships. And, they add, there's no tool for filtering users who actually are interested in a romantic connection. Other reviewers, however, are comfortable with the quick hook-up nature of Tinder, through which matches are made solely on the basis of photos. The pro-Tinder camp likes the way the app mimics real life, with its focus on first impressions.
Tinder's saving grace, and one reason it earns a spot on our list of top picks, is the privacy it affords. Unlike other online dating sites, such as Plenty of Fish and OK Cupid, users only receive messages from other Tinder users after a display of mutual interest. According to a Tinder review at Marie Claire, this feature eliminates bombardments of spam and unsolicited contacts. Another affirming feature is the display of mutual Facebook friends, which serves as a quasi-screening of potential dates. Users report feeling more secure about meeting an online match with whom they already have some sort of connection.
Many users also value what they consider the no-pain side of Tinder. As a review in The Guardian notes, making contact solely on the basis of looks -- and hastily, at that -- allows users to feel as though they have lost nothing if a date doesn't work out. The quality of such encounters makes Tinder a popular choice for young adults who are eager to meet people without dedicating hours to building a profile.
Tinder has no website and automatically fills in a user's profile through information and photos found on Facebook. The match-making process is simple: Based on GPS, Tinder finds other users in the general area and displays a picture of each. By swiping one way, a user whose photo doesn't appeal is dismissed; by swiping in the opposite direction, interest is registered. If two users are attracted to each other, Tinder opens a dialogue box. The goal is to arrive at matches quickly and spend as little time online as possible.
Tinder is certainly not the dating app for everybody. But it's totally free, with no hidden costs, and the ease of use is an incentive. Tinder is still a relatively young application, however, and currently works better in population-dense cities than in suburbs and rural areas. It remains to be seen how its features and user base will evolve.