While Tinder has made quite a few romantic matches, the hot new dating app has long had ambitions of connecting people beyond love and attraction. Tinder wants to be the place you go to make any connection, whether that be friendship or romance. Today, the app is launching “Moments,” an ephemeral photos feature that CEO Sean Rad says will be a big step towards helping people get to know each other.
As most of you know, Tinder works by giving users a stack of potential matches and allowing them to swipe right or left to show their interest. If two users express mutual interest, then the app will connect them, allowing them to send each other messages. Tinder is approaching 2 billion matches made (up from 1 billion in March). Last November, Tinder started allowing you to make lists of your matches, which was one of its first steps towards a “for all” use case.
Rad explains that the Tinder team thought about how to allow people to get to know each other in an effective way, with an eye on mobile design and behavior. As people accumulated matches, it was a challenge to get to know them. “Moments” allows people to share special moments with each other, and thus connect in a more meaningful way.
Here’s how it works: You can take a photo using the app, that will then be broadcast to all of your matches. Your matches can view your Moments by swiping right to “like” or left to “nope,” just as they would profiles. You can see which matches liked your moment and start chatting. When you go to the Matches tab within the app (which is separate from the discover tab, where you meet people), you can tap the camera icon and take a photo that will be sent to your matches.
On the receiving end, anyone who has taken photo will appear at the top of the matches list. When a match likes your photo, you will be notified. “You can see who is interested in you based on liking content,” says Rad. “And people love using Tinder for the joy of swiping, so we wanted to use the same experience to help people get to know each other.”
You can view all moments shared by your matches by tapping on the stack of cards at the top of the Matches screen or from the top of the Chat screen. An ellipses button in the upper right corner of the screen allows users to report or block other users, hide Moments taken by a user and to “Like & Message” a user. Switching to the My Moments tab will allow the user to view, delete and see who liked all of their currently active and expired Moments.
Each photo has a 24-hour extinction date, and matches won’t be able to see these photos after one day. But the photo-taker will be able to access these photos. “We wanted to make it less daunting for people to share these moments and the ephemeral nature of these photos allows for that” Rad explains. It’s also important to note that users can op out of seeing your matches’ “moments.” Tinder has also added editing capabilities to photos, so you can draw on photos in a number of colors and add filters.
From the photos themselves, people can also start a conversation, adds Rad. He alluded to another feature that will be added in the next release which will “solidify that Tinder is not just about dating,” he says.
“It’s about sharing these moments, and just because you match, doesn’t mean you need to date that person; you could match with a friend who you want to share a moment with.” Apparently, friendships are already being formed he adds. For example, Tinder is seeing people match with each other to get local advice on what to do if they are traveling to a new destination.
In this release, Tinder has also added the ability to turn yourself dark in discover mode. So no one will see you and be able to match with you, but you can still chat with existing matches.
As for the future, we know that investors are champing at the bit to get a piece of Tinder, whose majority owner is IAC. Tinder sees more than 850 millions swipes and 10 million matches per day, a kind of engagement that is impressive to say the least. Reports emerged in April that Tinder was valued at around $500 million in a recent stock transaction. It’s unclear whether Tinder will raise any money, but the CEO of IAC’s Match Group Sam Yagan told us then that “IAC has been, is, and always will be the majority owner of Tinder.”
Rad also tells us that Tinder has been considering a number of acquisitions of late, especially when it came to startups that offer complimentary technologies that could be added to the app.
Considering the dramatic rise of ephemeral messaging, it’s not surprising that Tinder baked some of that functionality into its own app. Of course, Snapchat has helped pioneer this behavior, and even Facebook is reportedly working on its own rival. Will ephemeral photos make sense in Tinder? I think so. The photos serve as a way to share a moment and re-engage and conversation–and that could translate to more lasting relationships.