As of last week, OKCupid started beta testing three location features within its mobile app (iPhone and Android):
- 1) Broadcasts. This allows you to let your best matches know that you’re free now and suggest activities. You can even include photos. Other users can browse your Broadcasts — and vice-versa — and reply to those they find interesting.
- 2). Locals. This shows you matches nearby (this is handy, considering OKCupid only lets you search for matches within a 25- to 500-mile radius). One can then indicate that they would like to meet those locals, and chosen folks will get a notification.
- 3). Notifications. OKCupid will let you know when a good match is nearby.
We can see these new features posing a threat to pre-existing location-based dating apps, which can sometimes function as hookup services more than anything else. Yes, the whole “clicking and letting someone know you want to meet them now” thing is a little creepy, but the Broadcast feature, which allows users to suggest specific, date-like activities seems a bit more structured. Suggest a date, and see who bites.
In fact, “Broadcasts” strongly recalls HowAboutWe’s new iPhone app, which allows users to suggest dates tied to locations. Still, HowAboutWe’s offering is less about in-the-moment meetings than it is about planning interesting dates.