Scientists were experimenting with computer programs to match individuals according to questionnaire answers as far back as the 1960s. Unfortunately, it took a few weeks rather than minutes to collate the results! Nowadays, dating site algorithms will suggest suitable partners in seconds. Some outlets don’t even bother with personality tests, and pair singles according to whoever happens to be closest geographically. It is fascinating to consider how the technology around digital dating has evolved.
Early matchmaking platforms
Considering the nascent versions of online dating allows us to appreciate just how far the technology has come. The earliest commercial platform was launched in the mid-1990s. Since then, dating has evolved into an industry turning over billions of dollars per annum, with thousands of diverse sites and apps catering to memberships running into millions. There are dating services for every conceivable form of relationship, meaning these resources are now wholeheartedly relied upon by huge swathes of society. One of the fastest growing segments of online dating platforms are senior people. If for example you’re an older individual and perhaps a divorcee there are any number of senior dating services where you can interact with people on your wavelength. Perfect example of it would be oldcooldates platform. Once you sign up to this platform, an in-build algorithm will analyze the information from your profile and based on it will suggest suitable partners who share your interests.
The ‘app’ tipping point
As the number of desktop-friendly websites continued to increase, five years ago a seismic event was to turn dating technology even further on its head. Analysis of Internet access revealed that the number of people accessing websites from mobile devices had exceeded desktop visits for the first time, a trend that has continued unabated. There are now approaching 9 million different apps, including many for the thousands of dating outlets. Having the ability to download apps, many for free, from Apple and Google Play stores has opened society up to the possibilities of online dating more than ever.
The roulette of love
Another key element in the evolution of digital dating technology was the introduction of swiping. Previously, singles would find matches by browsing through profiles or tailoring search forms, keeping an eye out for individuals they shared common interests with. The likes of Tinder introduced a far more convenient shortcut – presenting users with the option of swiping right on their handset if they found a site user attractive, left if they didn’t. If their swipe decision matched with the subject, the channel was opened for them to initiate conversations. Although this simple device appeals in a society where people are increasingly feeling constraints on their time, critics have argued that it represents a much shallower method of initiating relationships.
Society thrives on tech advances in communication. One of the reasons we could cope with the recent lockdown and social distancing was by harnessing zoom technology or becoming creative with hotdesking. The dating world has long been at the forefront of providing ever more inventive methods for site members to touch base, developing chemistry by messaging, texts, phone calls, or video chats. Sites are also pioneering virtual reality (VR) as more and more singles can indulge in ultra-realistic ‘3D’ liaisons, simply by donning the appropriate headsets. Using these enhancements has already been a staple of the gaming industry for many years. VR is likely to feature more widely in society as more and more people adopt it as a remarkable way of touching base.
Dating sites have long championed the use of algorithms – computer programs that can assess and analyze user activity, and then use this information proactively – to suggest potential matches or even date locations. This is another technology that has the potential to be used in so many other areas, streamlining the ways people can interact with each other, and making life so much more convenient. What online dating has been doing successfully ever since that first commercial site was launched 25 years ago.
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