As its Valentine’s day coming up we thought we’d look at how our love, big data, can help find your love, a significant other. We all know that dating sites use algorithms but it’s something we often forget when swiping on Tinder. For example, Match.com estimates that it has more than 70 terabytes of data on its customers. What’s your favourite food? What Facebook pages do you like? What’s your favourite film? All of your answers will push and pull the algorithm to hopefully find you a suitable match. In fact, at the end of last year, Tinder change its algorithm.
Talking to TechCrunch, Tinder CEO, Sean Rad, shared that Tinder added both technical and informational data points to the algorithm change. It means that Tinder takes information from who and how you swipe. But there’s one problem; people lie. Is Pulp Fiction really your favourite film or is it Grease? Jennifer Dutcher over at Data Science found that online dating users lie about their height, income, and strangely, their sexuality. Being truthful on your profile is essential if you want to Netflix & Chill with someone who likes the same movies as you…
There are even paid services that help you alter the Tinder algorithm like SwipeMeNot. It’s a desperate cry, but there is obviously money in Big data and finding love. But what if big data and algorithms are making the decisions for you on Tinder? OkCupid’s Christian Rudder notes “Two people may have exactly the same iTunes history, but if one doesn’t like the other’s clothes or the way they look then there simply won’t be any future in that relationship.” Personally, if someone had the same iTunes history as me chances are we’re going to get on just fine, but the sentiment still stands; what if algorithm match you with people it thinks you’ll get on with? It’s a difficult question to answer as it comes down to whether online dating can ever be as effective as meeting someone IRL (we’re happy to open up a debate on that!).
If there is one thing we wish app developers could invent if a service that used your data and recommended you potential matches, almost like Amazon. Imagine binge-watching a TV show and instead of suggesting more shows, it suggests people who have also binged the show in a 10-mile radius.If you’re interested in big data and love, here’s a brilliant TED Talk from Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating.