Looking for the love of your life? There's an app for that
Spark founder Brian O'Neill and his wife, TCD lecturer Dr Gladys Ganiel, whom he met on an online dating site
The lonely hearts ad has had its day, with technology now helping people to find that special someone with whom to spend the rest of their lives.
And thanks to dating site algorithms and smartphones, dating has also got easier, with thousands of Irish people now turning to their phone on a daily basis as a place to find love.
It would appear that the saying “Love is in the air” is past-tense, it’s now in an app on your mobile phone.
While everyone has heard of online dating, mobile dating is now the latest in a line of technology to be applied to dating.
Companies such as Anotherfriend, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish and Spark each boast millions of messages, chats and other measures of mobile dating success.
Furthermore, the iPhone and android stores both have numerous dating apps available for download.
“The dating industry is moving massively towards mobile technology, with a huge percentage of users going mobile and using apps,” according to internet dating analyst Mark Brooks.
What’s more, dedicated mobile dating platforms now use GPS technology to help smartphone users find potential matches in their vicinity.
Brooks says location-based mobile technology has had to broaden its scope though, to provide the vicinity as opposed to the exact location of users.
“Women didn’t want to give away their exact location and GPS technologies were able to do that, showing where a person was within three metres. Now the more successful mobile dating apps provide vicinity-based services using GPS.”
Brooks believes the next step in mobile dating is for the app to ask users how the date went.
“Real-time feedback through mobile phones will be a game changer in the dating industry. Often people don’t really know what they want when they are looking for a partner. Analysing behaviours helps to improve algorithms for them. One of the behaviours that can be analysed is who users choose to go on a date with, who agrees to go on a date with them, and how the date went.”
Browsing while commuting
Gráinne Barry, managing director of Anotherfriend.comwhich has 60 per cent of the Irish online dating market, says mobile technology has changed the world of dating by making it easier for people.
“Technology has made dating more convenient as often you meet people you might not otherwise meet.
“It’s very hard to meet new people unless you start a new job, or a new hobby. Irish people tend to stick to what they know and always go to the same bars, etc.”
The site, which acquired Maybefriends.comlast year, has approximately 90,000 active users in any three-month period.
Barry says some 20 per cent of the site’s users log on from their smartphones, with traffic to the dating site’s app peaking at commuting times.