It used to be that when you swiped right on Tinder and spoke with the person you wanted to meet up with, you'd suggest a place to get together to see if any sparks flew. That might have been a safe place with plenty of people around like a restaurant, a book store, a bar, or a crowded park. The problem is that the pandemic has made it unsafe to go to many of these locations. But love always finds a way and today Tinder announced that it is testing a video chat feature in select markets. If both parties opt-in, they can go on a virtual date.
This isn't a total surprise; earlier this year when reporting its first-quarter earnings, Tinder parent Match announced that it was adding face-to-face video chat to the app. The new feature is first being tested for some members in the U.S. (Virginia, Illinois, Georgia, and Colorado); Brazil; Australia; Spain; Italy; France; Vietnam; Indonesia; Korea; Taiwan; Thailand; Peru; and Chile.
Here's how it works. After the two members start engaging in a conversation, tapping on the video icon takes the conversation to a new level. Virtually, that is. Both members need to have the feature enabled for it to work. It also can be disabled quickly. Those engaging in a virtual date must agree to follow Tinder's house rules including no nudity or sexual content. No illegal activities are allowed including harassment, hate speech, or violence. And no content involving minors is permitted. Once the call is over, Tinder wants to hear some feedback from the participants.
Tinder said that half of its members in the states have had video dates in the past month after a match off of the app. 40% of Gen Z members surveyed said that they want to continue using video as a screen to decide whether to meet a match in real life even once their favorite date spot is reopened. Virtual dates do not appear to a short term feature that will disappear once the pandemic does. As Tinder said in its press release, "It’s clear that video is here to stay, and we’re excited to see what else we learn during this test. Stay tuned for updates on the feature over the coming weeks, as we continue evolving it while bringing it to more Tinder members around the world."