In the history of online dating, no dating app has ever achieved the star status that Tinder enjoys. By connecting people on the basis of location and mutual likeability, Tinder revolutionised online dating.
And now it is all set to expand its clientele by introducing Tinder Social, an app for meeting groups of people online, instead of just possible romantic interests.
The new feature allows users to form groups, that include some of your Facebook friends, and connect with completely new groups of people. The groups last till 12 pm the next day, and work on similar principles as the dating app, only with multiple participants per swipe. To merge with other groups, users need to swipe right, and the merger only takes place once a member of the other group swipes right.
After that, the people in the group may either decide to stay, or leave the group. The idea is to expand the Tinder user base from singles looking for prospective mates to people looking to make friends.
The general idea is that the members, consensually, and all with access to the same service, may plan a meeting and fix the time and place for further interaction.
Sean Rad, Tinder's Chief Executive, told BBC:
"We look at Tinder as not just being a dating app, but capturing your entire social life. And your social life has so many different aspects to it. -- The beauty of putting this in the same app is that we have scale - we have tens of millions of users all over the world. -- So, overnight you can get the power of Tinder and connect with others going out tonight in a way that was never possible."
Experts, however, have darker forebodings, with many expressing concern over the perception of the app with addition of the new feature, as 'orgy app'. While many consider Tinder a 'hookup' site, the app has, till date, recorded over 11 billion matches.
But Tinder head of India, Taru Kapoor, does not seem to share their pessimism. In an interview to NDTV Gadget360, she said:
"Our vision is social discovery, whether it's making friends or dating or forming relationships, -- [Tinder] Social is a part of that vision. Sometimes we interact with people one on one, and at other times we make friends in groups. With social we bring another part of the experience to the app."
Talking about the steady growth of the market for Tinder in India, Kapoor said,
"We do take feedback from our users and listen to them very carefully, -- So for example we added the job and education details to the profile, which was something that a lot of users from India had requested."
After the new feature faced problems in Australia, post launch, security measures have been added to avoid the glitches that were reported by users. The revamped app has just been launched in India, and might turn out to be a social experiment worth observing.