Head of Product at Tinder, Brian Norgard, says that Tinder Online is meant to serve users in emerging markets who don’t have enough storage on their phone (the app is 128MB on iOS) or a big enough data plan for Tinder’s image-heavy feed. It’s also meant to offer Tinder power users the option to do their swiping and messaging on desktop, which is far easier on power users than a mobile app.
And, according to the blog post, Tinder Online is meant to serve users who are tied up at their computer, either in class or at work, and want to switch between Tinder tabs and actual productivity.
Introducing Tinder Online: a fun, new web experience and your English professor’s worst nightmare. Mobile phones not allowed in class? Just fire up your laptop and swipe incognito. Cubicle life got you down? Now you can toggle between spreadsheets and Super Likes in a flash. “Not Enough Storage?” Not a problem. Don’t let life get in the way of your Tinder game.
While the branding message of Tindering during class or work is questionable, the product itself makes a lot of sense.
Tinder has always been a native mobile app, first on iOS and then on Android. But the company now serves 196 countries across the world, and is learning to be flexible when it comes to giving people options about how they use Tinder.
As far as privacy is concerned, Tinder says that the only information it collects about users who log on to Tinder Online is location via the browser. Remember, Tinder uses Facebook as a log-in mechanism, so there is no shortage of personal information to which the company has access for the purposes of matching, marketing, or advertising. Browser history simply isn’t necessary.
“Our DNA is mobile so there was a learning curve involved in building something for a bigger screen,” said Norgard. “It was a challenge because when you start your birth as a mobile company, building for the web feels like you’re going backwards. There is a different skill set from a design perspective and a user behavior perspective. What makes Tinder great on your phone might not make it great on the desktop, and vice versa.”
From a philosophical standpoint, Tinder can feel to some users like more of a game than a social dating app. The company has made minor tweaks to counter this. The Tinder app used to say “Keep Playing!” after a match in big letters, prioritized over “Send Message.” Now, “Send Message” is prioritized over “Keep Swiping!”
On a broader scale, Tinder is built to be used as a time-sink just as much, if not moreso, than as a dating app that helps you connect with potential mates.
Making it accessible via web, and encouraging users to ignore class or work and Tinder instead, doesn’t necessarily make the app any more focused on the goal of connecting people, but rather getting as many swipes and matches as possible.
From a business perspective, Tinder fuels itself on user growth, with the hopes that those users convert into paid users, either subscribing to Tinder Plus or purchasing add-ons like Tinder Boost. Allowing users to access the platform from anywhere with an internet connection, without having to install any software, lowers the barrier to entry.
The launch of Tinder Online comes on the heels of news that Tinder was running a secret, members-only version of the app called Tinder Select, which lets invite-only users toggle between ‘celeb’ Tinder and regular-person Tinder. You can read more about Tinder Select here.
Tinder is currently testing Tinder Online in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, and Sweden, with plans to launch everywhere ‘soon’.