There’s a new dating app on the scene called Feels. Its unique selling point is an interface that feels closer to a Snapchat-style story or a TikTok feed rather than the swipeable cards found in other dating apps. TechCrunch reports Feels currently has around 100,000 users. Although the app is available globally, the company says its focus is primarily on the French market as it launches more widely.
Feels is styling itself as an “anti-dating app,” but to be clear, this is very much still a dating app. You’re still reacting to profiles and having conversations, which, I’m sure, for a lot of people, will end up with them going on dates. At the same time, though, Feels’ interface, ahem, feels different enough from the competition to make it interesting.
Profiles are made up of a combination of pictures, videos, and answers to prewritten questions (similar to Hinge), but each element fills up your whole screen, and you browse through a profile by tapping on the left or right sides of the screen. Like I said, it’s very Snapchat Stories. They’re the same elements that rival dating apps have used before but wrapped up in a more modern interface. It’s promising, if a little lacking in customization options beyond adding captions and locations to your photos and videos (though the company tells me stickers are being added in the near future).
Feels is also making a big deal out of not relying on the same swiping gestures as other dating apps (a change we think is long overdue), but the distinction is a bit academic. You’re ultimately still swiping through profiles; the animation is just a little different. And you also can’t swipe back to a previous profile without paying for a premium subscription, which also adds other features like a profile visibility boost. As of this writing, this costs a somewhat expensive $9.49 / €9.99 / £8.49 a week (though there are discounts for paying monthly). TechCrunch notes the company is still iterating on its premium plan.
But a dating app is only as good as the people on it, and within a few minutes, I’d swiped (ahem, I’m sorry, scrolled) through the mere dozen or so accounts of users registered in London.
It’s early days for Feels, and it’s launching into a very crowded market. Established competitors like Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge have added pandemic-focused dating features to help singles date with social distancing and lockdowns, while Facebook has recently shown a renewed interest in the area with tests of a new speed dating app called Sparked. But with more users and profile customization options, Feels could be an interesting new dating app.
Feels is currently live on iOS, and the company tells me it’s working to bring its Android app back to the Google Play Store after being kicked off yesterday. (Feels CEO Daniel Cheaib tells me the team has yet to discover why its listing was removed.)