Like much of our Internet activity, online dating seems to have made the full migration to mobile: it was just a year ago that we wrote about one “early to market,” on-the-go dating app; separately, 4 million matches happen every day now among Tinder’s international users. And as of last week, a new app called Glimpse also wants a chance to connect potential daters.
Tinder is popular due in part to a UI that mimics being at a bar: See someone hot? Do they think you’re hot too? Awesome, now start a conversation. Unfortunately, for plenty of people, that last interaction presents more of a problem than a solution according to Elan Miller, creator of Glimpse. “It’s the same frustration of: ‘this is fun, she thinks I’m cute, I think she’s cute.’ But then there’s nothing to talk about,” Miller says.
His new app Glimpse aims to solve that by connecting single folks through their Instagram photos. Instead of, “Hey, what’s up?” there’s potential for, “Hey, I ran that marathon too! Are you running in the half marathon?” As Miller puts it here: “If Tinder is hot or not, then Glimpse is interesting or not.”
When you open Glimpse (which is currently available via a request for an invite), the initial interface is actually remarkably similar to Tinder’s. You get one headshot right off the bat. If that person piques your interest, swipe up, and you can see the nine photos he or she chose from a personal Instagram log.
Miller says that nine photos are the magic number because they offer insight into taste, sense of humor, and interests, without being overwhelming. (It’s also the way social users are most used to viewing gridded images as Facebook and Instragram group people and popular photos in three-by-three rows). If someone seems interesting, hit the “smile” icon. Like Tinder, or Bang With Friends, there isn’t much rejection at first, because you’ll only see who someone who has also smiled at you.
That’s not to say that Glimpse is judgment-proof; you still consider each potential match with the carnal gut reaction of “hot or not.” Plus, what people capture and then filter for Instagram is a tightly curated (and therefore possibly inaccurate, as extolled here) version of what life truly looks like.
But Glimpse is banking on a general shift in our online behavior to favor of visuals over copy and thus save users from the cringing awkwardness of writing promotional copy about themselves. By selecting a sample of pre-existing Instagrams, users are simply taking postcards from their lives and putting them out there as talking points. “People are starting to show rather than tell,” Miller tells Co.Design. “Ten years ago, on Facebook, it mattered where I went to school. Now I have social capital when I post a picture of Burning Man, or Coachella. People are really bad about talking, but they’re good at capturing their lives.”
Glimpse is available here, once you’ve requested an invite.