The Future Of Dating: One Day, Mobile Will Mean More Than Hookups

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Everything is moving more mobile these days, but mobile dating is still plagued by one big problem: it's hookup central.

Location-based dating is clearly designed to lead to a meeting, but with that comes a swarm of users who aren't looking for anything more than a quick fling. On a Web-based dating site, users are searching for a totally different experience, one based on meeting vetted, strictly filtered dates that they get to know on the site before arranging future plans to meet in person.

The challenge that now faces the dating industry is to blend the immediacy of mobile with the success of online dating. "There's no effective app for hetero hookups," says Sam Yagan, one of OkCupid's four founders, in an article on Forbes.com. "Grindr is very popular in the gay space for males. But there isn't really a Grindr for straight people."

Still, Yagan thinks there's a future for mobile dating. He thinks the next incarnation of mobile dating will mean using a variety of dating apps: "One may be a I-just-want-to-have-a-beer-with-somebody-new-tonight app. Or I-want-to-look-for-Mr.-Right. Or I-want-to-look-for-Mr.-Right-right-now."

Another possibility for the future of mobile is the social graph. Tinder, a bright new star on the mobile dating scene, is breaking new ground for social dating. Tinder users sign in using their Facebook accounts and indicate their interest in a potential date by swiping to the left or right of their screen. With the recently introduced Matchmaker feature, users can now make introductions between any of their Facebook friends, whether or not they're already using the app.

Sean Rad, co-founder and CEO of Tinder, argues that what's important isn't the future of online dating - it's the future of dating in general. As people - especially young people - become more accustomed to interfacing with the world through their phones, dating will need to evolve into a new experience.

Rad thinks the key will be to move in the opposite direction of online dating. Once upon a time online dating was hailed for offering access to a significantly wider pool of potential dates than traditional dating. But the downside to that, Rad explains, is that online daters also end up experiencing a great deal more rejection.

Rad sees the future of dating as something very different. A smaller pool may solve some of the problems, but the rest is up to you. "Science can only go so far," he says. "You are the best arbiter." Mobile has a place in that future, and perhaps that place is righting the wrongs that online dating has created.