A look at Facebook Dating has shown that it'll be relatively easy to use for anyone who's ever had prior experience on a dating app. Some of the most rudimentary features of the app are quite similar those that exist on Hinge. But Facebook Dating also has some additional features - like Secret Crush and the ability to avoid matches with friends of friends - that set the service apart from its rivals. Those differences may just be enough to attract millenials back to the old-age brand of Facebook, from which they've long moved away.
Take a look at some of the key similarities and differences between Facebook Dating and similar dating apps:
One of the biggest advantages to Facebook Dating may be that the service exists inside of the Facebook app, and can be accessed from the app's main menu. It's about as easy as can be to swipe between your news feed any any potential matches.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook Dating allows users to automatically fill in their profiles will information from their Facebook profile. It's something that other dating apps have done before, both to make it easy to get started, and to verify the user's identity and photos.
Of the dating apps I've used, Facebook Dating looks and feels most like Hinge. Just like Hinge, Facebook Dating profiles include prompts and questions to answer and display on your profile. Tinder and Bumble, for their part, present pictures and basic information, and a space to write your own short bio.
Additionally, expressing your interest in a potential match on Facebook Dating is similar to doing so on Hinge. You can do so by "liking" the person's profile — like swiping right on Tinder or Bumble — or by commenting on a photo or other aspect of the person's profile. The latter feature is something done on Hinge, and can be an easier way to get a conversation going than the standard "hey."
Facebook Dating's close proximity to your Facebook, and all the information that entails, gives it a unique advantage over other dating apps. For example: You can filter your Facebook Dating matches to those who are members of certain Facebook groups, or listed as going to certain events. If you want to make sure your Facebook Dating matches are fellow dog lovers, you can do that by filtering your matches to the 600,000 members of the Dogspotting Society group.
Facebook also recently added the ability to attach your Instagram photos to your Facebook Dating profile. Putting Instagram photos in a dating profile has been something long offered on other apps.
This particular integration could help Facebook harness the power of Instagram — an app loved by millennials — to lure a younger audience back to the core Facebook app. After all, it's the only way to use Facebook Dating.
Another way Facebook Dating may be trying to draw in millennials is with "Secret Crush." The unique feature allows each user to compile a secret list of existing Facebook friends and Instagram followers for who they harbor romantic feelings. It's something that doesn't exist on other dating apps, and is only made possible by Facebook Dating's access to Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook Dating's proximity to Facebook could also be seen as a downside, however. Although current Facebook friends won't pop up as potential matches, people who you have mutual Facebook friends might. Users can tell Facebook Dating to not suggest friends of friends, something that you can't necessarily do on other dating apps.
Facebook Dating does come with a feature helpful for users — especially straight, female ones — who may be nervous about meeting their online match in real life in an unknown place. Users can share their plans for dates and meet-ups with a select group of Facebook friends, who can see their location and stay updated.
Facebook Dating is free, without any premium features locked behind a paywall. In launching Facebook Dating in the US, Facebook took a shot at apps like Tinder and Hinge who ask users to pay for additional features and matches. "If you're looking for love, we don't want to keep the best features behind a paywall," Facebook product lead Nathan Sharp told Business Insider.