Hinge Introduces 'Date From Home' Feature So Users Can Date and Social Distance With Ease

With everyone self-quarantining and avoiding contact with the outside world, it is definitely not the most ideal time to meet someone for drinks or coffee for the first time. (And you probably couldn't even if you wanted to, because everything is closed.) So, Hinge—the dating app that's billed as the one for people who "want to get off dating apps"—has introduced a new feature that will allow users to notify each other when they're ready for a digital date.

"While we may need to be physically distant right now, we can still be socially connected. We are excited for the launch of 'Date from Home' as a new and easy way for our users to continue their dating lives," Hinge Chief Product Officer Tim MacGougan said in a press release on Tuesday.

The way the "Date from Home" feature works is that while you're chatting with a match on Hinge, the app will prompt you to ask if you're ready to engage your partner in a phone call or video chat. Don't worry about being the first to put yourself out there, or about your match being ready—the app will keep your response private from the other person until you both hit that you're ready. The app will also allow you to change your response before your match responds.

Once you've both said that you're ready for a virtual date, the app will tell you, "Now, is the perfect time for a video or phone call." Once you receive that message, you and your partner can coordinate a time to FaceTime, Skype or Zoom session—or, you know, you could call each other. Later on, the app will also ask you if you've had a virtual date, similar to how it asks if you've met someone in person, during times when people aren't trying to social distance themselves. Also, instead of asking if you're open to a second date with the person, the app will ask if you'd like to get to know the person better to learn your type.

According to a press release, around a third of Hinge users said the hardest dating phase was taking online conversations to the real world and users felt least confident doing it. Hinge also found out that about 70 percent of its users were open to some form of virtual date. "Date from Home is designed to combat this widely-felt apprehension and provide an easy way to signal when they're ready for a virtual date, so they can get off the app and enjoy getting to know each other in a safe way," reads the app's press release.

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In this photo illustration, the home page of the FaceTime application is displayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone on January 29, 2019 in Paris, France. Hinge rolled out a new feature Tuesday that will inform users if their matches are open to virtual dates via phone call, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or others. Chesnot/Getty