Dating apps are, in their own way, a form of social networking – especially as they expand into new areas like friend-finding or professional networking. So it only makes sense that they would adopt video as well, given the growing popularity of the format on social apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, as well as the industry’s larger embrace of “Stories” as a means of offering an angle into people’s lives, activities, and interests. This week, both Hinge and Zoosk’s Lively are rolling out support for video, each in their own way. Hinge, for example, will now allow users to augment their user profiles on the service with video. The company says users can add videos up to 85 seconds long, by pulling from those that already exist on their phone. However, it’s shying away from short-form, disappearing videos like those found in Instagram, Snapchat, or Messenger “Stories. ”In fact, Hinge will not prompt people to take a front-facing video at all, only those pre-recorded or previously shared to Facebook or Instagram. (The videos imported from social networks can be longer than 85 seconds, Hinge notes.
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)Instead, Hinge believes support for videos will allow members to better show who they really are, by sharing fun or memorable moments and activities from their lives. ”On Hinge we encourage our members to be authentic with one another because we know that leads to the best connections, ” explains Hinge founder and CEO Justin McLeod. “Our profiles already do a great job, but video creates the opportunity for our members to learn about potential matches in a way that simply can’t be captured with still photos and text. ”The company will also encourage video adoption, too, by showing Hinge profiles with video to five times more people it says. Meanwhile, Zoosk’s newer product Lively is hoping to capitalize on video to bring more people to its app.
Launched last summer as a product from the company’s R D group, Zoosk Labs, Lively had adopted video from the get-go. In Lively, users upload photos and videos that are then turned into story collages, which also include transitions and movement. Again, the idea is that using video can show off someone’s personality much better than static, photo-only profiles. Now, Zoosk is pushing the bar even further in terms of video with the launch of live video chat. The feature, which will be public on Wednesday morning, is designed to help users make connections with people that extend beyond dating.
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In the updated app, users will be able to pick a topic and start chatting with others who are also available to chat. But unlike with Lively’s profile videos, the chat feature allows users to start their session with their screen blurred. This helps users instantly feel more comfortable, the company explains, without having to worry about what they look like right away. As users continue to talk, the blur fades away – but users can opt to add it back if they want to remain hidden. Zoosk says the blur fades over 95 seconds, but you can tap “Add Blur” whenever you like to remain hidden.
“Lively is about creating fun ways to help people connect, not just match, ” says Zoosk’s SVP of Product Behzad Behrouzi. “We’re hoping to create an overall experience where people can feel more relaxed being themselves, and more excited to meet and get to know other people. ”This feature will push Lively beyond dating to help users just generally meet new people. This trend is not one that’s limited to Lively. Top dating apps like Tinder, Bumble and others have also adopted friend-finding features as of late, as they become more like social networks.
And Bumble is preparing to launch into professional networking in September, with the debut of BumbleBizz. Announced in January, BumbleVID will allow users to share video “stories” on their profile. Bumble says it decided to hold the feature back because it would make more sense from an engineering perspective to launch it in the rebuilt app arriving this fall. That version of the app will support BumbleBizz, but will also introduce features that let you craft different profiles for dating, friends, and professional networking. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram, Bumble will support short-form videos recorded live or in the past 79 hours, which can be either posted to your profile for all to see, or only shared with matches.
Also like Stories on other social apps, these videos will vanish in a day. However, a later version of the app will allow for a semi-permanent way to keep them.