Mobile

New dating app Hitch lets you play matchmaker

Online matchmaking

The dating scene is changing rapidly. Gone are the days of organic meetings in bars (just kidding, hopefully); they have been replaced by fancy Tinder algorithms and OKCupid. The most convenient way to find a dating partner now involves a bunch of user profiles that you can browse like a clothing rack in order to find the possible love of your life — or love of the night.

Hitch promises to do something different for the online dating world. It’s a new dating app that lets you select two friends you’d like to set up — or “hitch” — and the two can start chatting. It’s as simple as that.

“There are many dating apps out there at the moment,” founder Anton Gu told VentureBeat. “The vast majority are providing random suggestions, refined by mutual interests, hobbies, sports, and so on. Some services use location data and tell you, here are the people in your area, see what happens. In reality, it is just a computer algorithm that provides potential matches.”

“People are happy to receive suggestions of what movies to watch, what albums to buy, but should it be the same for relationships? Especially when you are looking for someone special?”

Gu and his team wondered what it would be like to replace this algorithm with a real person.

To use the app, you log in with your Facebook account and choose two friends to match together. Those two lucky lovers are then sent an invitation to chat, and the matchmaking is complete.

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However, the app has a twist. If your friend “hitches” you with somebody, you’ll only know the gender and the age of the person you’re chatting to. So, for example, you’ll know that you’re chatting with a male who is 24 years old, but you won’t have any other details. If, after a while, you realize you like this person, there’s an option to reveal your identity.

Since you won’t know who your potential match is or what he or she looks like, you’ll have to trust your friend’s judgment.

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“The users always know that they are being set up with a ‘friend of a friend.’ This gives them a sense of security and familiarity — it will never be some random person you have no connection with, it is always someone in your social circle. And, yes, you have to trust your friend to choose wisely!” Gu tells VentureBeat.

Your matchmaker gets a reward for a successful match. When matchmakers make a hitch, they can see how many messages have been exchanged back and forth between their two lovebirds. If there are lots of messages, matchmakers know they did a good job. A matchmaker can even see when the pair reveals their identities to each other, which is the ultimate reward. Matchmakers instantly see the results of their efforts.

“You just know the question is coming: ‘So, 512 messages, huh? When are you taking her (or him!) on a date already?'” Gu tells us. “And the story continues.”

Tracking messages on Hitch

Gu drew much of his inspiration for this app from real life.

“Inspiration for Hitch really came from personal experience. You meet someone at a party (an interesting friend of a friend), you like them, but before you know it, they disappear. And you never see them again. You could ask your friend for their number and call out of the blue: ‘Hey, I’m that guy at the party, Steve gave me your number,’ and so on. But what if they get annoyed at your friend for giving the number away? There’s got to be a better way.”

At the same time, Gu said, sometimes it’s just fun to set people up.

“Hitch is not an app that offers countless potential matches — it depends on your friends’ choices. Quality over quantity. A friend’s advice over randomness.”

You can download the app for iPhone here. The Android version will be available soon.

 


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