Pokémon Go may have overtaken the number of users on Tinder, and even spawned a romantic service of its own, but the original dating app isn't going down without a fight. On Thursday, Tinder introduced a new feature that tries even harder to shed its image of being a place where people go to hook-up. Unlike Tinder, the new service called Social is supposed to help groups of friends meet other groups – essentially like a tweet-up (or even Ola Share), but with left-right-swiping.
Tinder is a four-year-old dating app that is valued in billions of dollars and has millions of users, all of whom access a simple interface allowing them to contact others in their vicinity by swiping right. Rejects get the left swipe. Despite its growth, though, Tinder has also struggled with the image of being a hook-up service not meant for serious dating.
Earlier in the year, the company attempted to combat this image in India by releasing what came to be called a "sanskaari"' TV ad, which seemed more like a commercial for a matrimonial service. Now it has gone even further with Tinder Social, which was introduced with no mention of dating at all and instead highlights the apps ability to helping friendly strangers meet other groups with things in common.
The company says it became evident that people wanted a feature that could help it plan group excursions, rather than just romantic encounters. It tested out Tinder Social in Australia first and is now launching in India, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealan
Tinder users can opt-in to the new Social feature through their settings. They can then choose to invite their own Facebook friends to join a group, telling the app whether they're going out for drinks or going for a movie.
Once this is done, any member of the group can look at other groups heading out in the same direction that evening – mimicking the usual user experience on Tinder – and they can then swipe right or left on those other groups. Unlike the long-drawn conversations which Tinder sometimes ends initiating, there is a focus on immediacy with the matches expiring by noon the next day.
Of course, social media had a hard time taking the new service seriously and comparisons to Twitter were inevitable.
Tinder's infamous in India for being as fraandship-filled as any other social network, so the responses to the new service also speculated about how this would factor in.
And then there were those who offered theories for why Tinder was trying to get into this market in the first place.