Due to most people’s inability to go outside and meet new people over the last year, dating apps have become a lifeline for single people worldwide, and now there’s a new player in town called Feels.
This French startup app is taking on the industry big boys like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge with its “anti-boring discovery, anti-boring profiles, and anti-boring icebreakers” approach to dating in the digital age.
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Co-founder and CEO Daniel Cheaib told Techcrunch (opens in new tab): “The reason why many people uninstall dating apps is that it’s boring. Profiles all look the same and we feel like we’re browsing a catalog.”
Feels is therefore aiming to eliminate the cattle-market aspect of competing dating apps by allowing users to focus their profile around their own personality.
What this means, in reality, is that Feels is a dating app that spices up the game by asking users to create short videos in the style of Instagram Stories or TikTok. After all, if a picture says a thousand words, then a video can surely tell you everything you need to know about your potential partner.
The app’s creators believe that swiping through profiles is tedious, so are attempting to position Feels as the “anti-dating app,” but it’s perhaps not as revolutionary as the marketing buzz words might suggest.
For starters, you’re still very much swiping through profiles— just profiles that are comprised of videos rather than pictures. That said, the interface does take up your whole device screen, which helps to make the app feel both very current and oddly absorbing.
Once you’ve found a profile that catches your eye, you can move to a private conversation with that user, and for many people that will likely eventually lead to a real-world (or maybe virtual) date. Sure, the set dressing may be a little different but ultimately Feels is a standard dating app at its core.
In predictable fashion, the app won’t allow you to swipe back onto a profile you’ve already moved past unless you sign up for a pricey $10 a week premium subscription; this can be discounted by paying monthly. Feels may claim that “swiping is boring,” but having to pay for the privilege arguably makes it infuriating.
Having had a quick play around ourselves, the app is very clearly designed for Gen-Z. There are animated characters, flashy animations bursting across the screen, and a couple of fairly outdated memes. Though, very much to the creators' credit, Feels offers an impressive slew of inclusive options that allow you to set your sexual preferences in great detail: a hugely welcome feature.
The app so far has been targeting its home country of France, so the worldwide user base is pretty sparse at just 100,000 — which isn’t many fish in the sea compared to rival apps. However, the creators hope to hit the 1 million signups mark by the end of 2021.
Still, it's fair to say that overall your dating options are a little thin on the ground on Feels right now. The Verge (opens in new tab) tested the app out and found a mere dozen people using the app in the London area. But hey, that’s less competition at least.
The app also faced some pretty serious teething problems early on, especially during the profile creation steps, which used to take around 15 minutes to complete. The process has now been streamlined and the completion rate jumped from 30% to 75%, so clearly the Feels team is dedicated to working out the kinks over time.
The app is usually available for both iOS and Android, though it was recently removed from the Google Play store for unspecified reasons. The team is currently working to get it reinstated. If you want to give it a try, you can download the iOS version of Feels here (opens in new tab).