I used Happn, the French alternative to Tinder for a week and these are the 5 things I noticed


Dating apps are hardly a new concept in India. Infact, these have managed to seep in into our regular lives fairly easy, heralding the rise of the dating app culture.

Be it Tinder, TrulyMadlyDeeply, Woo or Hinge, millennials nowadays have one or more of these apps on their phones and use them to meet new people and in some cases, even date or hookup.

But, there have been complaints, as well. An individual’s privacy on any app of this nature is a major concern. So, is the skewed male-female ratio.

So, when a new dating app announces that it is launching its services in the country, the news should be hardly surprising.

But, what about when the app claims that it’s not the same as other dating apps?

For starters, the app’s CEO and co-founder insists they want to position it as a meet-up app in the country as opposed to a dating app which had us intrigued. The fact that it works by using a user’s location to show up potential matches also helped.

The app in question is called Happn and was launched in Paris in early 2014. In just over 2 years, the company has managed to witness unprecedented growth and gross 15 million registered users worldwide, with about a million users in the U.K itself.

Once you sign up on the app, it uses real time GPS tracking to give you a list of people near you. It also tells you whether you’ve crossed paths with them once or several times and also gives you a map of roughly where you crossed paths, along with their photos, name, age and profession.

Think of that cute guy you locked eyes with in the metro or the girl who was sitting in the table opposite you. With Happn, you’d now get a second chance to approach them.

If you like what you see, you hit the red love sign and if the feeling is mutual, you have a ‘crush’ and can start messaging. However, unlike Tinder, you don’t have to wait for a mutual like to start anything. You can always go ahead and send a ‘charm’ (which is basically a notification signalling your interest) that they will definitely see. If they happen to reciprocate, the court is all yours.

Yep, it sounds good in theory. But, how would this app stand out in real life?

I decided to take one for the team and use the app for a week and here are the five things I noticed:





1. Happn is incredibly easy to use and safe but also addictive: As the app uses one’s real time geolocation to throw up matches, the chief concern understandably was whether the app was safe to use or not. Didier Rappaport, the CEO and co-founder had gone on record stating that Happn can’t be used to stalk someone as the details of anyone’s location is not disclosed and that it is very easy to block someone and I have to admit, I agree. Despite the fact that you can see where you crossed paths with somEone, you however cannot get details regarding their exact location. The one week that I’ve been on the app, I haven’t faced any security issues and according to me, the app does uphold an individual’s privacy and delivers what it promises.

However, there’s a downside- Happn is also incredibly addictive. You’ll end up opening the app multiple times in a day, and I think the fact that all your matches are in real time can be attributed to that. This is obviously good news for the app and its CEO, but the incessant notifications about matches can get slightly frustrating for a new user.

2. There are a lot of single people out there: So, here’s the deal- Happn launched its services in India a mere 2 weeks back and except some Facebook ads, they haven’t indulged in any marketing campaigns or had an ‘official launch’ and yet the app already has over 200,000 users on board. For an app that is just starting out in a new country, the numbers are great.

Additionally, you can yourself realise the popularity of the app while using it. Not only did I get charms ( every 20 minutes the minute I signed up on Happn, I also managed to spot a large number of people from my office on the app, which is an indication of the number of single people that are out there and who use apps such as these to meet new people.

3. There are surprisingly more married people on the app: You will find people of all ages and relationship status(es) on Happn. Finding married people on your newsfeed is not an uncommon sight on this app.

Infact, I’ve received charms from a 63-year old to a 40-year-old whose profile picture was with his wife and two kids. I didn’t start a conversation with either of them, so I personally don’t know what to make of it.

4. It does eliminate the whole planning to meet scenario: What happens with Tinder and other dating apps is that they show you potential matches based on your preferences and though location is accounted for, it’s not in the real time as Happn is. As a result, when you meet someone you like and have an interesting conversation with on Tinder, you make a plan to meet up with them either the next day or sometime ‘later’- which is what Happn eliminates. Because, the person you are messaging may end up being in the same vicinity as you, you also have the chance of having a real life interaction right there and then.

5. Hookup > Meetup: Contrary to what Happn’s CEO wants, the many people I matched with on the app were surprised, and to some extent insulted at my suggestion of meeting and being friends and nothing more than that. A majority of them admitted they were on the app to hook up. “Even I wanted to meet new people, I would have gone to a party, ya,” quipped one when I asked him about whether he viewed Happn as a meet-up app.




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