The Latest in Online Dating

by Julie Alvin

For those of us that are uninitiated in the world of computerized dating, Tinder is an app linked through Facebook that pulls up potential love matches based on proximity and allows you to categorize them into "Oh! This guy is cute" and "Please never show me this person's face again" piles. No profiles, no "about me" sections — just photos culled from Facebook and indicators if you and your potential match have shared Facebook friends or interests.

Previously, Tinder had a reputation for being all about sex — I mean, come on, an app that's entirely predicated on choosing nearby matches based almost entirely on their looks is basically screaming "booty call." But this week Tinder launched an update that, aside from refining the interface and matching algorithm, allows users to place potential matches in a "friends" list where they can correspond about platonic stuff.

Verge says of the change, "The expansion to friendship and networking could provide a cover for those who are hesitant about dating online, but it seems like it could also be risky for Tinder." Perhaps this move will dilute Tinder's very simple concept, perhaps it will bring in users that are just looking to make friends and don't want to do so by joining a book club...and perhaps it will create some friendships that segue into romantic partnerships.