Dating app uses AR to make your search for love even weirder

Augmented reality is changing the way we buy furniture at IKEA, but can it change the way we find love? 

That’s what one new dating app is betting on. FlirtAR, pronounced “flirter,” launches Monday for iOS. (It’ll be available for Android at the end of this month.) It uses AR to help you find potential matches who are nearby.

It works in real time, using geolocation to find people close by who meet your designated criteria. As you move your phone around, little bubbles with people’s pictures pop up based on where you’re looking. 

The geotargeting isn’t ultra precise, so they sort of hover over the general area where someone is. It’s not like right on top of a person’s face, which might be a bit much. But it’s enough to make your search for love seem a little more immediate, and it’s an interesting twist on the more static interfaces the big apps like Bumble and Tinder give you. 

So what happens once you’re interested in someone who pops up? You click on their bubble, and their profile appears. You can then ping the person letting them know you like them. They then have to like you back before anything else happens in the app, like having the option to chat — though clearly you can also just decide to meet IRL right then and there. 

There’s also a feature that lets you move yourself on the map to a different location and view potential matches there — though people can see that you’re not actually there and are just scoping out the scene.

There’s also a facial recognition feature. If you see someone you’re interested in, you can scan them and the app will tell you whether they’re an active user. Eek, but useful in theory? Sort of — though there’s always the risk you’ll get caught scanning and come off like a creep.

The app lets you opt out of being matched at any time — like if you want to walk around the grocery store in your sweats unseen. (You can turn off the facial recognition feature, too.) But as with anything that…

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