Is it just me, or are dating apps getting a little more creepy with each new launch? I get the premise of Happn – say you see an interesting looking person in a café but while you were still mustering up the courage to talk to this person, they leave. Alas, looks like it’ll never be. Or will it? Thanks to Happn, you may now be able to ‘meet’ them on your phone.
It’s like the Missed Connection section on Craigslist but more tech-savvy. Of course, both people will have to have the app on their phone or else it won’t work (and up the creep factor by 100!). As soon as you pass anyone on the street, cafe, store, etc. within a 250-meter radius, when opened the app will show people you’ve crossed paths with on your feed in a grid view. You can scroll down to go further back in time. From there (after checking out their profile) you can indicate if you like them by clicking the heart, or charm them (which I have yet to figure out how to do). If you both like each other, then “It’s a Match!” and you can start a conversation!
Sounds a lot like another app you know? Yes, Tinder too uses the whole ‘like each other’ premise to start chatting. But unlike Tinder, Happn allows you to purchase credit so you can chat with someone without a match – you know almost like real life, where you will be bothered by someone even when you’ve clearly given him/her the signal that you’re not interested.
So far the app that launched in March 2014 in Paris has been downloaded over 200,000 times and has also been launched in both London and Berlin with daily active users number between 10,000 to 40,000 (in Paris). So there is something to be said about this whole serendipity thing. People seem to like it. It is in a certain way a little more personal (a little) than Tinder. At least you know that people on your feed are nearby and you’ve seen them in person (or at least passed them at some point of your life). Tinder was a fun game to play but at the end of the day, it also required a bit of commitment to get out and meet a complete stranger who may or may not look like his/her profile picture. Also, many times the people on Tinder were nowhere near you. But with Happn, they’re most likely close by.
Whether or not Happn will take on the rest of the world, and I’m guessing it will, is left to be seen. But so far, the premise sounds interesting enough. And they’ve put in enough safety measures to make it secure to chat with people. From their website:
“The app is designed to guarantee the safety of all users and the confidentiality of their data. Your position is not saved and remains completely invisible to other members (only the position of where two people have passed each other is registered). We’ll never post anything on your Facebook profile!”
Aside from that you can also stop talking to anyone at any time and report unwanted behavior. For now it sounds interesting enough to explore. But for it to get interesting, there has to be a whole lot more users. Here’s hoping for more serendipitous encounters with Happn.