In case OKCupid, Pentyoffish, and Coffee Meets Bagel weren't already cutting into the time you spend working, emailing, or trying to do anything else on the Internet, the Google Chrome extension Tab now lets you view a romantic match every single time you open a new tab on your browser. The goal of the extension, currently in beta in the U.K. and soon to launch in the U.S., is to bring the serendipity of real-life encounters to online dating, according to Fast Company's interview with Shib Hussain, who founded the U.K.-based company with Adam Lowe and Dan Hall:
Imagine you could bump into the love of your life on any corner of the Internet, just like in real life.
I'm not sure how serendipitous it really is to download an extension, fill out a form about yourself, and then anticipate another extension user with compatible qualities waiting for you when you go to check your Facebook. Hussain cited another benefit of the extension, however: "Online dating is actually pretty time consuming, regardless of what platform... You have to actively look for people, switching from ‘not looking’ to ‘I am looking,’" whereas in real life and with Tab, "You just bump into people and it just happens."
So, with other apps, you have to switch from "looking" to "not looking," whereas with Tab, you're always looking. No, that still sounds pretty time-consuming to me.
Hussain says the extension targets people over 25 "trying to find that work-life balance," and, well, I'll give him that, since Tab ensures you literally stare life in the face even while you're working.
As with most dating services, participants who indicate their mutual interest — by clicking a heart, in this case, which I find a bit intimidating compared to the less romantic stars on OKCupid and right-swiping on Tinder — are matched instantly.
Here's the plus side: If you suffer from the variety of Fear Of Missing Out (also known as FOMO) that leaves you wondering, "What if the moment I exited out of OKCupid was the moment my soul mate would have shown up in my matches?" you need no longer fear — because Tab's matching bot is always watching you. The extension's algorithms even track which websites you visit to better match you.
Is this creeping out anyone else?
And while I'm polling the audience, is anyone else anticipating "I'd tab that" jokes?
While FOMO is itching at me, I'm probably going to have to pass on this one. The Tab extension takes multitasking to a whole new level, and I just don't see any way to concentrate on an article when 26-year-old Joe from Brooklyn is peering back at me every time I open a new Google doc.