When it comes to starting new relationships, most people have traditionally needed a little help from their friends.
And even with all the communications technologies and online dating sites in this era, most of us would probably still be grateful for a good old-fashioned matchmaker.
That’s one of the assumptions behind CherryPick, a free mobile dating service officially launching today from Rendez-Vous Labs.
CherryPick has been in an extended beta for the past nine months, and already has 200,000 Bay Area singles using the service.
What distinguishes this from giant companies like Match.com is it eliminates the anonymity factor that so many people find creepy about online dating. Instead, you sign in with your social graph via Facebook Connect.
When you log in, the service automatically creates your profile, choosing from your photos and your interests and likes in order to better match you with prospective dates among the friends of your friends.
CherryPick then pulls in from your social network those who indicate they are single and/or into playing the role of matchmaker.
“One of the options is to play matchmaker,” says co-founder and CEO Sophie-Charlotte Moatti. “This attracts a crowd that don’t otherwise use online dating -- typically it will be a woman in a relationship. And we find once they start, they can be relentless. After all, for them it’s about being a good friend.”
Moatti says that only about two in five single people use online dating to meet new people, so her service expands the pool of those potentially available, while also making it more likely that your matches will actually prove to be compatible.
“People who already use online dating love CherryPick because it finds fresh people,” she says, as do those aspiring to play the matchmaker role. “So it is attractive to both those who do and don’t do online dating.”
Although the main pool of users is in the Bay Area, CherryPick has a presence in about 40 cities, including New York, Chicago and Houston, and in European centers, including Paris and London.
Although CherryPick creates your profile, the user maintains the ability to adjust anything, including their photos, their age range and their relationship status. The technology under the hood is intelligent -- the more you use this service the better it will get at matching you with compatible dates.
Technologically, CherryPick utilizes facial recognition, artificial intelligence, and collaborative filtering – the latter to recommend activities for you and your date.
As to what the most important factor in who is attracted to whom, Moatti allows that it is appearance. “We assumed it would be looks and it is, based on our data,” she says. “Guys admit it. Girls don’t admit it as easily but for them it’s true too.”
When it comes to the laws of attraction, therefore, there’s only so much an algorithm can do.