Online dating is weird. You’re basically picking a person to date based on a bunch of photos and generally some self-aggrandizing description. Sometimes you exchange a few messages before the date, but the real getting to know each other actually happens on that first date, when you’re actually forced to make conversation over coffee or drinks or (God help you) dinner.
But what if you could kind of skip a step and actually have a conversation with a real-life person before deciding whether or not they’re worth spending a Thursday evening with? (Because you should never do a first date on a Friday night.) Well, that’s basically what Date.fm lets you do, by adding video functionality into its mobile dating app.
Compared to some other dating apps or sites, Date.fm is relatively straightforward. Unlike OkCupid, which encourages you to fill out detailed profile information, with Date.fm you’re basically only selecting people to chat with based on their photo and location. What you see is what you get.
But then, you can’t really judge a book by its cover… Which is all the more reason why having a video conversation is probably a good idea, rather than just going out with someone based on a picture and some lame messages back and forth. It lets you see the real human on the other side of the app.
The whole thing is based on TokBox’s OpenTok iOS SDK, which was released last week and lets developers easily integrate video chat capabilities into their mobile apps. The Date.fm app is the first big mobile implementation of the service, but TokBox claims more than 30,000 developers integrating the OpenTok video into their websites.