No date for Valentine's Day? New apps may help

TORONTO Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:02pm IST

Crates of roses are prepared at a FloraHolland warehouse in Aalsmeer February 11, 2013. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

Crates of roses are prepared at a FloraHolland warehouse in Aalsmeer February 11, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photos

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Singles who believe in love at first sight can turn to new apps that will match them with potential dates in time for Valentine's Day, but only if each person has expressed an interest.

With the new dating apps, users simply flip through photos of people in nearby locations and express their interest in dating someone. If there's a mutual attraction, the app connects them for a conversation. If not, their feelings remain anonymous.

"It limits the conversations to people you've actually expressed an interest in. So each of those conversations starts at a very deep level," said Sean Rad, co-founder and CEO of Los Angeles-based company Tinder, which developed the app of the same name.

Makers of the Tinder app, which is available worldwide for iPhone, said it has matched more than 10 million couples since it was launched in September.

The app pulls in member photos of people from Facebook, and then it's as simple as anonymously indicating interest in that person. If both people like each other, messages can be sent between the two users.

Rad said most users are between 18 and 30 years old.

Let's Date, which was released across the United States last week for the iPhone, is a similar app. But rather than simply focusing on the photo, the app provides the person's interests from Facebook for a broader view of the potential date.

"Our goal was to create an app that replicated the real world experience of going to a party or bar full of potentially eligible people," said Sean Suhl, founder of Let's Date.

"You're put into a crowd of people and if someone catches your eye and they catch your eye, then a conversation is struck up and then someone might ask the other person out on a date," he added.

The app resulted from a frustration with other dating apps, according to Suhl, who described them as "artificial and laborious".

"We're just presenting you the daters and you're just saying yes or no," he added.

Both apps require a login with Facebook, so people must use their real identity. Let's Date also stipulates that users must have been active on Facebook for a year, and have at least 50 friends before signing up.

Although the apps can set people up quickly, it still could take a while to find the right person.

"People are literally getting dates the same night, but you might want to give yourself enough time to find the right Valentine," Rad said.

Both companies plan to release Android apps.

(Editing by Patricia Reaney; and Peter Galloway)

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