It's tough finding a date these days. Craigslist is unreliable and dangerous; eHarmony and Match.com are costly and exclusive; and other online personals usually turn out to be scams. How's a suitor supposed to plan a romantic rendezvous in the digital age? Say hello to Visual Friend, a new and free Internet dating service that brings "singles, FaceTime, and your iPhone 4 all together in one fantastic, engaging place."
Visual Friend is essentially a curated version of Chatroulette, where iPhone 4 users can connect face-to-face though FaceTime, Apple's new video calling app. Members create profiles, search for lovers, meet in chat rooms, and then "decide whether or not [they] want to pursue the relationship further by exchanging [their] numbers. Once members have initiated a chat and they desire to progress to the next step, they can swap phone numbers and continue their relationship FaceTime style." Finally, video-chatting has become another archetypal step in relationships, like second base, meeting the parents, and moving in.
What's more, Visual Friend promises to help find your soul mate. Rather than invest in the complex personality algorithms of professional dating services, the site found a loophole: "Beyond companionship, the chances of meeting your true soul mate on a free dating site will be much higher, as we expect to top the number of members that the paid sites hit." And just in case you aren't sold yet, Visual Friend cites the recent OkCupid study which found that iPhone users have more sex than BlackBerry or Android users (cause, you know, one selling point for a potential soul mate is how many more sexual partners he or she has been with than the average smartphone owner).
Even though Apple's app store is the least sexually liberated place around, the company's products have inspired a slew of scandalous services recently, especially with its new FaceTime feature. iChatr launched last month, and in the past few weeks, job offers have been popping up all over Craigslist for video-sex workers. Visual Friend does all that leg-work for you—but without the cost and Craigslist-stigma.