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More options means more matches, says creator

Photo: Remi Yuan

A University of Ottawa grad has developed a new app that gives more options to users of today’s hottest matchmaker.

Tools for Tinder allows more flexibility for Tinder users such as choosing locations, searching results, mass liking, and viewing multiple profiles at the same time. Users can also view previous results and save favourite profiles.

Mike Cowen, the CEO of iCM Dev, Inc., began toying with the idea of added features to Tinder while on vacation with friends in May. Upon his return he began developing the app and released it in the Apple App Store on July 22.

“How would you feel about swiping right just to everyone in the area automatically, instead of taking the hours it would take to swipe right on 10,000 people?” he said.

First launched in 2011, Tinder was originally piloted on university campuses and boasts millions of users. In Canada, the app is most popular in Ottawa.

On average there are about 1,500 people using it daily within a 10-kilometre radius of the university, according to Cowen.

He said one of the most popular features of Tools for Tinder is the ability to change location settings. If you go on vacation, for example, the app allows you to line up dates ahead of time. The app also lets you automatically like all the results in your area.

“One of our users emailed in to tell me he was on a flight flying from Los Angeles to New York that was equipped with Internet access,” said Cowen. “They turned on the automatic mode and by the time they had landed they did over 1.3 million likes.”

Several students from the U of O have tested the app.

“The app is great. It makes it much easier to mass match with a bunch of people instead of constantly swiping left or right,” said Karyssa Nielsen, a second-year student in classical studies. “Much more practical for people who are constantly busy and don’t have the time to be swiping.”

“The setting location feature is nice and it’s cool that I can search for people and keywords,” said second-year communications student Shanel Dear. However, Dear said she liked the original app better.

Some users are crediting the app for a renewed faith in Tinder, said Cowen.

“We’ve been getting a lot of feedback from people saying thanks for making Tinder fun again,” he said. “People say they didn’t get matches before and that’s why they stopped using Tinder.”

Cowen graduated from the U of O in 2008 with a degree in computer science and marketing, which he says gave him the skills to create and market the app.

“It gave me my programming background, and I learned a lot about marketing as well while I was in school, and that’s really helped drive social media interaction and helped gain (the app’s) popularity so far,” he said.

The app is free to download in the Apple App Store with the option of paying up to $2.99 for additional features, such as removing ads. The app also recently launched for Android in the Google Play Store.