Online dating is no longer what it used to be; just like most things on the web, it inevitably changed and evolved as our technology advanced. The market has seen a recent change in growth from the old-school sites such as eHarmony and Match.com to the newer social dating sites like Badoo and Skout. One such technological advancement that has played a part in re-shaping the online dating landscape is the ability to find the geographical location of another member.
Location is an important element for dating sites, as a lot of users want to meet up with people in their own area, rather than being matched to people hundreds of miles away.
Geolocation features, therefore, are increasingly becoming a common part of dating website apps. The theory is that by giving users an option of revealing their geographical location, and being able to see the location of other users who are in their area, it will lead to more real-life connections.
The escalation of geolocation apps, which are able to determine a user’s location via their mobile phone, confirms the change in trend from dating centered around common interests to dating based on location. Mobile platforms like the iPhone and Android are ideal for modern online dating. All of the newer dating websites, such as Mamboo, Skout, AreYouInterested, TheComplete.me, Zoosk and Badoo, offer iOS apps. Badoo is one of the fastest growing of these networks, and their growth has been helped by people coming to the site via their mobile phone.
Badoo is available as an Android, Blackberry, iPhone and Facebook app. It uses a location tracking system in its member’s phones to enable them to search for other members in their vicinity. Badoo members can reveal their location wherever they are – which can be ideal for people wanting to meet others they like the look of or are compatible with when they’re out at things such as festivals, sport games, holidays or even nights out in their own city.
While some people might be understandably wary of alerting people to their location, for example, people that they have no interest in meeting, Skout, for example, has a location app with a built-in flagging service. This alerts users of any inappropriate contact. Features that include private blog access and private chat allow the user to only connect with people they want to meet.
The rise of geolocated online dating is a combination of demand and technological advancement. Geolocation apps have contributed to the growth of the newer social dating sites and now seem to be an essential part to meeting people via the web. Match.com and their traditional counterparts have taken to apps as well but without location-based facilities so far. The understandable reasons cited for this include that they think that their users do not want to be approached or bothered in places such as the supermarket without any make-up on and that they also prefer the traditional ways of online dating.
Whether this changes in the future remains to be seen, but what is apparent is that geolocated online dating is another product of our technological advancement and looks like it’s going to be an important element in the future of online dating. People are increasingly using their phones for things like apps more than they are using them to speak to people. That’s just how it is.
Geolocation apps, from companies such as Foursquare, were first used for people to share their location with their friends. The app’s potential didn’t go unnoticed by the online dating world, and there’s no turning back now.