Tinder is a mobile dating app that matches people based on physical location and a few profile photos, making it very different from most online dating services which require detailed profiles.
Tinder took the youth market by storm in 2013, growing like crazy and winding up serving about four million matches a day by the end of the year.
If you're curious about how it works but don't want to install it on your phone without knowing more, here is an overview of Tinder.
How Tinder Works
Tinder's software is much simpler than most matchmaking apps, requiring users to provide less information about themselves and their personal interests before it starts offering candidates for review.
You sign in with Facebook so it can access your friends list and tell if you have any friends in common with potential matches. Tinder takes your first name and age from your Facebook profile information and also grabs up to five photos (you can edit its photo choices if you don't like them.
It only takes a couple of minutes to set up a Twitter account since it requires such a small amount of information before it starts showing photos of people near you. It determines the location of users from GPS data on their smart phones.
Each photo Tinder shows invites one of two responses---a "pass" which means you're not interested and requires you to swipe left; or a "like" which amounts to a "yes" and requires you to swipe right over the photo of the person of interest.
Two Right Swipes=Potential Match
If someone you "like" also swipes right on your photo to indicate they "like" you too, then the app allows both of you to communicate via messages. Whether you then decide to meet in the real world is up to you, but a lot of users view it as a game and spend way more time swiping and messaging than getting together in real life with strangers they "met" on Tinder.
That said, Tinder has developed a reputation as something of a hook-up app, especially since its emphasis on profile photos means people are doing a lot of judging based on appearances versus personality traits or common interests.
Tinder got started in southern California in the fall of 2012. It really caught on with young people in 2013.