Online dating becomes hyper-local
Happn is an app that aims to put a different spin on the online dating game. Happn's main feature is a location-based matching feature, pairing you up with potential dates based on their actual physical proximity to you. You can meet dates as you go throughout your day, and arrange casual meetups as you run errands or hit the gym for your workout. This is meant to take the dating game offline and back into the real world, and take the pressure off of physical meetups with your matches.
Meet new matches as you move through your day
Happn matches profiles based on physical proximity, but this isn’t always a benefit.
Happn's main philosophy is a simple one. After creating a profile on the app, you'll start matching with potential dates based on physical proximity. This takes the form of a 250-meter radius around your phone. As the app begins to learn your daily routines, you'll start to match with other users who you've actually passed throughout your day. Unlike Tinder and Bumble, you won't have to spend hours swiping through potential matches. This method of matching has a lot of potential for cute moments straight out of a romantic-comedy; you can run into matches while doing your grocery shopping or say hello while you stop at a cafe for your morning coffee. This takes some of the pressure off of the usual online dating game; instead of arranging a high-pressure date or meetup, you can say a casual hello to your matches as you go about your day and see if the spark is there.
Happn requires the use of an existing Facebook account to join, so the potential for fake profiles is severely limited. Catsfishers can't create a fake profile directly on the app, but would instead need to go through the roundabout requirement of first creating a fake Facebook profile. The location-based matching also cuts down on the chance of running into a scammer or other fake account, as you can only match with people you've physically encountered in the real world.
Another standout feature is Happn's in-app messenger. In particular, users have the ability to send Spotify songs as a message, and play them directly in the messenger window. Conversations about your music tastes and favorite songs become much easier when you can just send the song you're talking about directly to your match.
Though the location-based matching sets Happn apart from other apps like Tinder and Bumble, it also provides some serious drawbacks and security concerns. The 250m location radius is more than large enough for folks living in major cities, but if you live in a rural or suburban area you'll likely have more trouble finding potential matches. As such, the app is more tailored to people living in densely populated urban areas; users in other locales will want to consider other dating apps that don't put such a heavy focus on location.
On a related note, personality and interests take a backseat to location matches. Though Happn does match users based on shared interests that you specify on your profile, matching based on location takes priority. Profiles aren't as in-depth or detailed as on rival dating apps like Tinder. As such, the burden shifts more to the user to find out if a person you've been paired with is actually a good match. This can be a major plus if you have the time and energy to do so, and can lead to a more traditional dating experience. However, many people look to modern dating apps to eliminate that extra getting to know you step, and to have the added security of already knowing what interests and preferences you share with a match.
The security concerns associated with this method of matching are also significant, and should be given careful consideration before creating an account. You'll be physically passing your matches over the course of your daily routine, which means your life can quickly become uncomfortable if you have a bad experience or interaction with a match. Beyond that, your routines have the potential of becoming legitimately dangerous if one of your matches proves to be unsafe.
Barring an actual restraining order, there's not much recourse if you start to feel unsafe around one of Happn's matches, as they do have access to your location and you likely already encounter them in your daily life. It's not a stretch to say that Happn can be a dangerous tool in the hands of a stalker. In addition, the necessity of linking to a Facebook account only amplifies these concerns, as this feature forces you to present information that you might not otherwise be comfortable sharing.
Unfortunately, Happn hasn't taken significant action to address these concerns, and the app doesn't currently have a robust safety net in place should you feel uncomfortable with a match.
Where can you run this program?
Happn is available for iOS, Android, and Windows. Potential users will need an existing Facebook account to join.
Is there a better alternative?
Yes. Happn has a specific local focus, which means you could be presented with a narrow pool of options. Other dating apps like Bumble and Tinder expand the match criteria to include personality and algorithm-based matches, greatly expanding your chance of potential dates. Both apps also provide a level of distance that Happn doesn't, which by default avoids many of the security concerns that come along with Happn's location matching. If you’re looking to step beyond your immediate physical area or want a little bit more privacy in your personal life, you should give those apps a try.
Happn has a few features that set it apart from a crowded field of dating apps, and their empasis on creating real-world encounters is unique. Apps like Tinder could take note of the additional messenger options, and Happn’s extra layer of verification to curb catfish accounts. However, potential security concerns and the small selection of potential matches account for some significant drawbacks that you should consider before creating a profile.
Should you download it?
Skip it. Happn’s extremely narrow match criteria and major security concerns mean there are better options for online dating.
- In-depth messenger
- Limits fake profiles
- Local matches only
- Safety concerns
- Limited match criteria