Tinder adding video chat feature as coronavirus forces more online dating

Feature is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2020

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Tinder is planning to add a video chat feature to its app to make online dating easier as the coronavirus pandemic keeps people indoors.

The news comes after dating app Hinge — which, like Tinder, is owned by Match Group — added a similar feature in April called "Dating from Home" after the app saw a 30-percent surge in messaging as singles stay home.

"The pandemic has dissolved the lines between our digital and physical lives. This cultural shift was already underway with our Gen Z members — but the pandemic is accelerating and broadening it to other generations," Tinder CEO Elie Seidman told FOX Business in a statement Thursday.

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MTCHMATCH GROUP120.30+3.58+3.07%

He added that this new way of stay-at-home life "has been a driving force" for innovation for Tinder, and the company looks forward "to bringing new experiences, including live video, to Tinder in the near future."

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In its 2020 letter to shareholders published Tuesday, the online dating company said that its Tinder app "plans to launch one-to-one live video" late in the second quarter of 2020.

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"As daters demonstrated strong willingness to video-date, our product and engineering teams around the world mobilized quickly to deploy one-to-one video chat capabilities on many of our platforms," the letter read.

The letter added that Match Group accelerate live-stream video on its Plenty of Fish dating website, allowing users to communicate with other users virtually and in real-time. "Adoption rates for live streaming at Plenty of Fish thus far have exceeded our expectations," the letter said.

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Tinder also added a "Passport" feature to its app in April that allows users to communicate with other users from outside their home country, which was impossible to do before the pandemic.

COVID-19 has had a "number of effects" on Match Group's overall business, Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said in a March 31 announcement on the impact COVID-19 has had on the company. The company is requiring all of its global employees work from home, apps and websites have seen "higher levels of engagement," and more users are willing "to make virtual connections" and accept video chat as a dating option.

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The dating app industry as a whole is changing amid COVID-19.

Bumble — a dating app that requires female users to make the first move — has seen an 84-percent increase in the app's voice call and video chat features. The app puts a virtual "badge" on the profiles of users who are open to virtual dating, according to Axios.

Coffee Meets Bagel introduced a virtual speed-dating feature, which allows users to chat virtually for 10 to 15 minutes, and an entirely new dating app called "Quarantine Together" for singles trying to meet their significant others during the pandemic launched in March, the outlet reported.

As Hinge wrote in an April 8 tweet, "For the first time ever, the playing field is even. Nobody has pandemic dating experience."

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