Dating app Tinder has just made its first acquisition, buying mobile messaging app Tappy, a platform that uses photos as a jumping-off point for conversations. Not familiar? Here’s how it works: All Tappy conversations begin with a photo, which can then turn into a chat thread between either two individuals or a group. The conversation ends up looking much more like your Facebook newsfeed than a text message exchange, and fans of the app compare it to being a kind of Snapchat-Instagram hybrid.
What does this mean for you, the average Tinder user? First, and foremost, it demonstrates just how much of a monster Tinder has become in the mobile dating space. The app is now seeing 1.5 billion swipes a day, 21 million matches per day, and recently passed the 5 billion match mark.
It also highlights how Tinder wants to grow. Its new feature, Tinder Moments, lets people blast their matches a photo message, typing text or drawing over them and adding filters. Tinder, at this point, doesn’t allow users to send photos via a private message, and the acquisition of Tappy could signal the direction the app is headed.
Bottom line: This news probably confirms all the online dating fears that you’ve been harboring for years, that success on these platforms really is all about your photos. As we become more and more dependent on these apps to meet people and seek out meaningful relationships, that’s actually pretty frightening. Call us old-fashioned, but we don’t want a few filtered photos to be the determining factor in whether we meet the future love of our life or not, but that’s just us.
Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad told TechCrunch of the acquisition: “We’re very good at connecting people, but there’s this ‘what happens after that?’ moment that we want to improve … We not only want to get better at the way we use criteria to connect people, but we want to broaden the reasons for connecting in the first place. The Tappy team will help us tackle both fronts, the pre-match experience of creating that first connection and the post-match experience of communicating with that person.”