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Hinge provides audio recording capabilities to its app

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Hinge starts voice prompts

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Dating app companies have spent the last year pointing out that the dating experience is changing. Now they are starting to keep their promises.

Hinge, one of the largest companies in the Match Group, is expanding its app to include audio recording functions from Wednesday. It is the first dating app widely to offer a feature that allows users to add voice clips to their dating profiles. Hinge will also allow people to send voice notes to their games, a feature dating competitor Bumble has long offered.

Dating apps are synonymous with swiping left and right. Most of the time, people look at other users’ profiles, which are usually filled with pictures and some text, and swipe left to deny or right to show interest. If two people swipe right, they’ll fit together and could end up on a date.

Adding interactive media experiences like audio and video allows people to interact in ways that were not possible in online dating. Companies in this space hope that these features will result in people spending more time on the apps, promoting better connections, and attracting new users. That in turn brings more income.

“It’s one thing to take a picture of yourself, it’s another to really tell stories and show an interest that starts a conversation. To give people the opportunity to include a richer story about themselves on their profile Telling that isn’t just a bunch of photos of yourself I think is where it’s going, “said Justin McLeod, CEO of Hinge, in an interview.

Dating apps are more geared towards Generation Z, an age group used to more inclusive digital experiences. Audio experiences could also be attractive to users who have not previously dealt with video data. Generation Z or Gen Z refers to people born between the late 1990s and early 2010s.

“Voice is a really nice gateway to getting into richer media than capturing a video of yourself,” said McLeod. “The idea is to be able to send a voice memo still convey a lot of information, but you don’t have to make sure you look good and the camera angle is right and the lighting is right and all that.”

Hinge introduces voice memos between games.

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Hinge’s parent company has been working on evolving into audio, video and social over the past year. Match completed its $ 1.7 billion acquisition this summer of Hyperconnect, a social networking company credited with developing the “first mobile version” of WebRTC. This will allow the company to focus on its research and development and add more live chat and video experiences to its apps.

Gary Swidler, COO of Match, previously told investors the company expects at least two of its brands to deploy Hyperconnect technology before the end of the year, while a number of other brands will implement it by the end of 2022. (Hinges audio capabilities became independent of Hyperconnect, McLeod said.)

The voice notes are the first step.

“This is just the beginning of a lot of things that will come out over the next six to twelve months that will really help people tell a richer story on their profiles,” said McLeod. He did not want to give any further details.

Hinge also announced on Wednesday that it is adding more features for LGBTQ + users.

Starting Thursday, Hinge will update its algorithm to add a non-binary gender category so that they can be shown to those interested in getting to know them. (Currently, most apps allow users to identify themselves as non-binary, but ultimately require that they specify whether they want to be shown to people searching for men or women, McLeod said.)

Hinge will also be introducing prompts specifically for LGBTQ daters sometime in November.

McLeod said the updates are part of a broader customization strategy to create products for specific groups to make the app feel more inviting.

“There’s still a lot of innovation to be done, both in terms of customization and how you can really use the app for different people with different views and different expressions,” said McLeod. “So giving more options for people to create a more personalized experience and create the profile that they believe really expresses who they are and when they go through profiles they don’t all look the same, me think this is really a big step forward. “

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