Tinder may be the most popular online dating app, but a new location setting it’s releasing has a few people a bit concerned with releasing too much information to potential suitors. Known as “Places,” the Tinder app is in development of a new feature that tracks users’ location through the app, showing others the places where you’ve been.
The hope of those over at Tinder is simple: creating a “Places” setting will help potential matches to come across their real-life missed connections, leading them to places where a person may typically hangout; like a bar, beach or restaurant. Seems a little bit too creepy, though, per Tech Crunch.
There are some caveats about the new feature. For starters, this is something Tinder has in testing – the way it works at launch could be different. Also, the feature can be shut off, the documentation says – a toggle in the app’s settings let you turn it on or off at any time. And we’ve learned that, thankfully, this feature will be opt-in.
However, that’s a decision you should approach with caution.
The way Tinder has implemented the location feature is concerning. Instead of allowing users to explicitly “check in” to a given place – like their favorite coffee shop or a cool restaurant or bar – Tinder continuously tracks users’ location with its app, then makes a determination about which of your “places” it will show to your potential matches.
If all of this sounds like a bit too revealing, we tend to agree. Sure, the Tech Crunch article points out that Tinder won’t release locations of users until after they left a place — and are promising that private places like where a person lives or works will not be included from the automated location-sharing option — the online dating app is still working out some of the kinks in what might be included. Tinder also says that a recent place will be removed after 28 days, disallowing users to see that information afterwards.
It’s clear that Tinder will be benefitting from this “Places” information more than its users, with the online dating app capable of tracking behaviors and then using such info to better match people together. For instance, if two people regularly visit a dog park a few times a week, Tinder can input that into its algorithm to help improve matches. Still, there’s a high probability that knowing where people are might enhance the risk of harassment or even stalking.
Remember, this is all in development and not officially released, but with our phones tracking our every step, apps like Tinder are trying to utilize such information for its benefit. Time will tell if this is something useful or too much for users who would rather hide their every move.