Type “Hinge” into Google and this will be your first result - “A hinge is a type of bearing that connects two solid objects, typically allowing only a limited angle of rotation between them.”
Google thinks you are asking about tools for your door. You aren’t though, you haven’t done household chores since 1998. You want to know more about this mysterious app called Hinge. It has been slowly expanding its global footprint, one city at a time. Some say it’s like Tinder. Some say it’s the anti-Tinder. So what is it? Well, not to get all philosophical on you, but Google ends up describing the app almost perfectly when defining door tools.
What is Hinge?
Hinge is a dating app, available for Android and iOS. It links your Facebook information to the app to create a profile and uses GPS to show you relevant matches in your area. Why does it have to link to your Facebook? Couple of reasons:
1. To make sure you are a real person with authentic information and, more importantly,
2. To use your network of friends to generate matches
Yes. This is how Hinge sets itself apart from Tinder and the others. It ONLY shows you friends of friends. The pitch is that because Hinge only connects you with people connected to your friends, odds of finding like-minded people are higher and odds of creepy behaviour from random people are non existent. Last year, Hinge saw a user-base growth of 500% and raised $12 million in December. Till 3 weeks back, it was present only in US cities, but is now making waves in Toronto, London, Sydney and Mumbai. It is an intriguing premise: friends of friends have been the default go-to dating pool since time immemorial. The creeps from Tinder also should not, ideally, make an appearance here because, let’s face it, who wants stories of their shadiness getting back to their friends?
What’s it like to Hinge?
The first thing Hinge asks for is permission to get details from your Facebook account (No, the app never posts on Facebook). You also have the option to add more information - ‘About me’, height, religion, date spots, and the like. This leads to a loading screen that depicts Hinge going through your network, trying to find The One candidates. I’m not going to lie - this screen is pretty exciting.
The candidates’ profiles show up as cards, similar to Tinder. You swipe right to like and left to dislike. Click on one and you get more details about that person - more photos, place of work, how you are connected to them, etc. No, the person you’ve swiped right on does not get a notification. Only when he/she swipes right on your profile as well can you two be connected and start the in-app chat. Oh, and it has an ‘Undo’ button in case you swipe left on the potential love of your life by mistake. Speaking of chats, I did end up speaking to a couple of ladies on Hinge, and the in-app chat worked just fine. There is also a nifty ‘Block’ button in case you meet a psycho.
Unlike Tinder, Hinge gives you a finite number of profiles everyday - about 10-15 only. This makes you consider each profile a little more seriously instead of swiping left and right like there is no tomorrow. Smart move. There is an indicator on the left which shows how many profiles you have gone through, and how many you have left for the day.
Should I delete Tinder and get Hinge?
Tinder is positioned like a game. Whenever you have time, whip out your phone and start playing. Left, right, left, left, right, right, right. Oooh, a match! Left, right, left, right, left, left, left, left, left, right. Even visually, the app is loud and fun. Hinge, on the other hand, has a comparatively drab UI. Maybe it’s a deliberate design since Hinge is being positioned as something more serious than Tinder.
Hinge also clearly leans towards sharing more information than Tinder. Right from the get-go, your prospective matches can see 16 of your photos from Facebook, your place of work, schools you have attended and the friends you are connected through. Tinder, on the other hand, just has 4 photos, first name and an ‘About me’ section.
Both the apps, at first glance, seem to be targeting the same demographic, but the inclusion of friends’ network with Hinge changes everything. Meeting only friends of friends through a dating app sounds really good and really bad, depending on whom you talk to. So it comes down to this:
If you want to meet a random person without worrying about where the date is going, what it all means and other such ponderings, then go for Tinder. It offers a huge user base, a fun user experience and the excitement of meeting a stranger.
But if serious romance is on your mind and going through hundreds of strangers’ profiles on Tinder does not sound appealing, then pour yourself a glass of wine and download Hinge.