The company is beginning to test a new web-based version of its service that allows people to access Tinder from a browser, rather than its mobile app. Called Tinder Online, the service is being tested in a handful of countries outside the U.S. but the company plans to make it available to everyone in the future.
That may sound like a minor change but it is a significant shift for the company, which has been mobile-only up until now. With Tinder Online, which is being tested in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, and Sweden, users can browse profiles, check out matches and send messages all from within a browser.
Tinder says the change is meant to help the dating service expand its presence in international markets, especially those where LTE and unlimited data plans aren’t readily available. “By building a website it allows people to use Tinder without having to download a very heavy photo-centric app on their phone,” says Samantha Stevens, Tinder’s head of growth products.
There are other benefits to using the web version of Tinder as well. For example, you can view a person’s profile simultaneously while you are chatting. And while swiping is not exactly the same as it is in the app, the desktop version maintains the “swipe right, swipe left” dynamic. It also allows you to interact with keyboard shortcuts, which may be even quicker than swiping.
Stevens says the company will be “focusing on a global rollout over time” but for now Tinder will be paying close attention to the countries where it’s testing the experience to fine tune it before making it available more broadly.
Additionally, Tinder is also testing a feature that allows users in some places to create an account with only their phone number, instead of a Facebook account in “various markets.” The company declined to elaborate but said it’s looking at places where Facebook usage may not be as strong.