Technology

New Truth App let Users Anonymously Flirt with Phone Contacts

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Dating and communication between two potential romantic partners has reached a whole new level thanks to the growing popularity of apps. If you’re nervous or shy, you can approach a woman or man through an app and never experience firsthand rejection. You can swipe left or right, without having that uncomfortable conversation if one of you isn’t interested.

Tinder is an app where users interact with each other through profiles and information pulled from Facebook. You can see, at least through photos, who is messaging you. But other apps are surfacing to channel all of that flirting through a new, underground form of communication.

Truth is the latest in a series of anonymous messaging apps that sends private flirtations or missives to people on your contacts list. It's undercover one-on-one messaging between friends.

So, if you like a guy but aren’t sure if he likes you, you can hide behind an avatar and anonymous username with Truth to message him and see if he might be interested. If he doesn’t have Truth on his phone, he can download it to read your message, making him another user. This is a cool and exciting feature for shy types.

On the other hand, if you want to slam your friend without her knowing who did it, you can do that, too.

Truth is different from popular apps like Secret and Whisper because it utilizes your own contacts list instead of broadcasting through a feed like Twitter. So, the focus of communication is between friends. But all of these apps share one thing in common – they allow you to be anonymous. Which means in the online world – you can say or do whatever you want with no accountability.

One of the objectives for the app is to allow people who are uncomfortable flirting or asking someone out face-to-face a means to do it without having to feel the sting of rejection. On the other hand, it’s a perfect platform for bullying.

Truth’s co-founder Ali Saheli tells website Mashable that, “We try to keep it light and playful,” but acknowledges that from day one they have seen the potential for abuse. He estimates content reported as abusive represents less than 5% of all messages. "The most common usage is flirting with classmates. And obviously we've seen a range of uses, like people giving feedback in workplaces.”

The app has taken off among the most vulnerable age groups – specifically high school and college-aged people. But is it making dating any easier or a better experience? As one young woman told Mashable, “You're just playing a game to figure things out."

If you would like to try the Truth app you can visit their site called Use Truth.

Live Video Chats Gaining Popularity among Online Daters

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Users of online dating sites sometimes get frustrated and overwhelmed with all the lengthy profiles and messaging back and forth before they ever get to a date with a potential match. A simple solution: why not test the chemistry first by video chatting with each other before meeting for drinks or coffee?

Enter a new crop of online dating apps focused on video interaction. Among those making headlines in this growing field are Date.fm, Flikdate, Video Date and two new apps launched last fall -- View N Me and Instamour.

Developers of these apps saw an opportunity when they noticed how Skype and Facetime are fast becoming typical platforms for people to communicate. They figured singles would want to see if there's chemistry before spending the time and money and effort to meet a date in person. And why not do that from your laptop or mobile phone?

While it sounds great to meet a potential date through a video chat, some people aren't so convinced. Not everyone is a movie director or cinematographer who can figure out good lighting to highlight someone's most attractive features. All too often, poor lighting and strange camera angles can interfere with making a good first impression. View N Me offers tips for looking your best on video to address this problem.

Safety is another concern, and different app developers deal with it in different ways. For example, Video Date does not use phone numbers or e-mails for people to communicate through the service, and messages delete after 24 hours. View N Me offers a strict no tolerance policy for any type of inappropriate behavior on its site. Once someone is reported they conduct a review and terminate the subscription if the user's behavior is deemed inappropriate.

But the most important question for daters is: how easy is the service to use?

Date.fm works a bit like a video-enabled Tinder app. It is simple to use - the service provides general information like age and location along with photos of matches, and you can like or dislike them. If you both like each other, you are sent a notification and then can start video chatting from within the app. FlikDate touts itself as "the fastest date in the world." You simply connect with your Facebook account and play a type of video roulette, where you can chat with someone instantly, see if you click, and accept or reject your match on the spot.

It's no surprise that video dating is becoming more and more popular. People are looking for quick ways to get to know each other. But the real test for love still takes time and effort.

POF Betting it Knows What Online Daters Want

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While POF has garnered a lot of attention over the years for its free online dating service and hook-up potential, its founder wants to get back to basics and is focused on the goal – finding people matches for the long-term.

POF does have an advantage over other dating sites: namely, its user base. With 70 million registered users all over the world, it can rightly call itself the largest online dating site. Three and a half million people log on to the site every day to look for matches and communicate with others. The company also estimates that over one million relationships a year begin on its website.

What does this mean for daters? For one thing, the sheer numbers POF draws from memberships means the company can determine how people date from country to country, including their cultural preferences and overall approach to dating. They’ve found that while daters in the U.K. largely embrace online dating, the rest of Europe is a bit behind. They can focus on areas of growth and potential.

POF began in Canada, but the U.S. is by far its biggest market, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

“People in the United Kingdom will wear turtlenecks in the photos they send,” POF founder Markus Frind told The Provence, commenting on the cultural differences of dating he’s witnessed through the POF user base. “Women are way more aggressive in Brazil. They initiate as much as men.”

POF was started in 2003 when Frind was working for another technology company, and created the dating site in his spare time. He ran the company out of his apartment for five years until it reached ten million in annual revenue. Today he employs about 75 people in a large office space in Vancouver, and since POF remains a free service for daters, most of the revenue generated is from advertising.

Though Frind won’t disclose how much revenue his private company makes, he has put aside $30 million for acquisitions and intends to keep growing. In September of last year, he bought speed dating company Fast Life, hoping to add value to his online dating service by getting into singles events.

And as for success stories? Frind met his own partner through work, not over an online dating site. But he has gathered some success stories resulting from POF matches, including a young married couple who met each other five years ago on the site.

With its popularity unwavering, POF is focusing its efforts on technology and growth. The goal according to Frind is still to help people find long-term relationships.

This Is What Happens When A Math Genius Hacks OkCupid

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What if you could meet, woo, and win your fiancé in just 90 days?

That's exactly what Chris McKinlay, a Boston mathematician, did in June 2012. McKinlay was good at math, but not so good where his love life was concerned. So he did what any enterprising mathematician would do: developed complex algorithms and used robot profiles to systematically sift through thousands of profiles on OkCupid to find his perfect match.

McKinlay was working on his PhD at UCLA in June 2012 when he first joined OkCupid. After answering 350 questions from the thousands available on the site, he discovered that he only had a compatibility rating of over 90% with fewer than 100 women. Six disappointing dates later, and McKinlay realized that something needed to change. He decided to apply his data skills to his dating life.

He began by creating 12 robot profiles that answered all of the questions randomly and used them to mine the survey answers of all women on the site. Then, armed with 6 million answers from 20,000 prospective mates, he used an algorithm to analyze the women he would like to meet. He limited his search to LA or San Francisco based partners who had logged on within the last month and clustered their personalities into two types that appealed to him most: "indie" women in their mid-20s and slightly older creative-types. After creating two different profiles for himself designed to target each cluster, he then answered the top 500 survey questions for each group.

The hack worked. McKinlay suddenly found himself with a 90%-plus compatibility rating with more than 10,000 women. Because OkCupid notifies users when someone looks at their profile, McKinlay designed software that would automatically view as many profiles as possible, prompting curious matches to initiate conversation with him. He received about 20 messages per day and went on 87 dates, but just one - the 88th - was special.

28-year-old Christine Tien Wang, an artist pursuing a master's in fine arts at UCLA, caught his attention and the two hit it off. They've been together ever since, surviving through Wang's one-year art fellowship in Qatar and McKinlay's admission that he'd used rather unconventional means to meet the woman of his dreams. "I thought it was dark and cynical," Wang told Wired. "I liked it."

McKinlay maintains that he was just doing "a large-scale and machine-learning version of what everyone does on the site," and unusual though his approach may sound, it's hard to argue with success. McKinlay and Wang are now engaged, and he has written a book to help others find spouses through online dating...it doesn't get much more successful than that.

How Smartphones Have Changed The Way We Date

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Our smartphones have changed the way we do...well, pretty much everything...and dating is no exception. Some people remain dating purists, committed to only communicating via phone call, abiding by the 3-day rule, and never, ever using an app to meet someone. Others have fully embraced the new technological era, and are probably swiping their way through matches on Tinder as we speak.

I have no doubt that both sides have valid points, but frankly I prefer to consult someone (or in this case, something) a little less biased: research. A new study examining mobile's impact on dating and relationships has shed a teeny bit of light on how our smartphones affect our love lives. Here's what the study found:

  • To call or not to call? That is the question. When asked, women tend to say they prefer men to call before meeting face-to-face, while men say they feel a call is too forward. The data, however, tells a slightly different story. Around 1/3 of both sexes agree that it's less intimidating to ask someone out via text, although 68% of singles say they still want to chat on the phone or in person to schedule dates. We modern techies typically type, but seeing as confidence is widely considered to be the most attractive trait in a partner, maybe the text is doing us a disservice. Perhaps we should opt for the proactive approach and pick up the phone.
  • Stop with the 3-day rule already. If things didn't go well on your date, put everyone out of their misery and end things sooner rather than later. Just do it like the nice, responsible adult you are, please - don't be one of the 50% of singles who said they would consider breaking up with someone they were casually dating with just a few swipes on screen, or the 24% who said they would end an exclusive relationship via text. On the other hand, if things went well, make your feelings clear in low-pressure way. A simple thank you text sent within 24 hours of a good first date keeps you on your date's radar and opens the door for further flirty conversation.
  • Your smartphone speaks louder than words. The iPhone vs. Android battle is fierce, and it turns out which side you fall on reveals insights into your personality and behaviors. Android users are apparently the politer daters - more likely to pick you up at home, pay for the first date, and send a post-date text. They're also more trusting of their partners - nearly 50% said they would allow someone they're dating to look through their phones!

So are smartphones good or bad news for our love lives? It's hard to tell. But what we do know is that they aren't going anywhere any time soon, so we're far better off learning to love them as another tool in our dating arsenals.

New Dating app Twine Canvas Launches in Time for Valentine’s Day

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Tired of the selfies you see populating dating apps like Tinder? Would you like to know a little more about the person before you start messaging? The folks behind Twine Canvas think you do.

The free new app allows you to create a visual "canvas" of pictures that show your interests and hobbies, rather than revealing photos of yourself to attract someone's attention. The idea behind this is simple: it allows people to begin to engage on a deeper level than just a superficial selfie or headshot - marketers are labeling it as the "anti meat-market app."

Twine Canvas is a brand new app, separate from the original Twine, also created by developer Sourcebits. After studying user feedback, the company decided to create a new app altogether rather than just revamping the old app.

Getting started with Twine Canvas is pretty simple. You download the app to your iPhone or iPad (no Android version yet), and login with your Facebook account. You can create your own "personality canvas" to add to the gallery, which expresses what you like to do or what your hobbies are. It's basically a type of virtual vision board, with a mosaic of user-generated pictures - from a cup of coffee (coffee lover) to a sailboat that shows you love to be on the water. You can also describe yourself in a few short words, shown underneath the canvas.

Then you can start searching through a gallery of other user's canvases to "like" them (swipe down for canvases of people you want to meet). You can adjust your filters to sort by age, gender, and location. If you both like each other's canvas, your profile photos are revealed and then you can start messaging.

"Twine Canvas adds creativity and personality to flirting by giving men and women a unique way to express themselves. When someone creates their canvas of likes, hobbies and experiences, it's far more insightful than a shallow selfie or an impersonal stat," said Rohit Singal, founder and CEO of Sourcebits.

The developers also claim that the app was inspired by the visual self expression of other platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Whisper and Tumblr. They wanted to allow people a certain level of creativity and visual expression when it comes to mobile dating.

While daters might get frustrated with not being able to see what potential dates look like until they are mutually matched, it's an interesting idea to engage people visually as with Instagram. Now I'll be waiting for the Android version.