Forget Facebook's poke. Mobile dating applications are making it easier than ever for singles to break the ice and are quickly becoming the preferred way to make a love connection.
"Mobile dating apps are going crazy right now," said Sam Yagan, CEO of Match.com and co-founder of the free dating website OkCupid—both by InterActiveCorp. "Online dating naturally lends itself to mobile. You want to be planning and coordinating a date in real time."
Yagan said that mobile use of OkCupid tripled last year and that Match mobile usage more than doubled from 2011 levels.
People aren't limiting themselves, either, but are trying multiple mobile apps.
"People definitely use more than one dating application," Yagan said. "Most of our users are using more than one at a time,"
Here are a few of the mobile dating apps gaining traction.
The Tinder app turns your smartphone into a personal matchmaker.
Tinder, which is also owned by InterActiveCorp, matches people via their Facebook profile. You download the app and sync it with your Facebook account. It uses your publicly shared information to find people in the same area according to a radius you can set yourself.
The app then begins to show your compatible matches. If you want to learn more about a match you swipe left; if you want to move on to the next person, you swipe right. You can "Like" a profile and if the person "Likes" you back, you can begin chatting within the application.
Because Tinder is simple and reduces the risk of rejection, it has become very popular. It has been available for less than six months and is already approaching 1 million downloads, Yagan said.
"In my decade in the online-dating industry, I have not seen a dating app of any kind grow so fast as Tinder has," he said. "What Tinder brings is this low-friction experience. It's so easy and so fun that you can just sign in and write to a user's profile and go back to your world."
HowAboutWe, which is one of the top-rated dating apps on Apple's app store, is all about finding someone in your area with the same interests.
This location-based app lets people connect according to places they want to go.
You can share your date idea and the day you want to go out, and others can respond. You can also search the platform for others' date ideas and respond to their propositions.
Crazy Blind Date
For the adventurous, the Crazy Blind Date app may be more appealing.
OkCupid launched this mobile application earlier this year and has had hundreds of thousands of downloads.
You simply pick a time and a place, and then the folks at OkCupid pick a blind date for you. OkCupid doesn't reveal the date's identity, but a user can chat to determine logistics.