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Tinder 'Smart Photos' uses swipe data to select your best pic

'The more you swipe and the more you're swiped on, the better the algorithm serves you.'
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PeopleImages.com via Getty Images

When you're swiping through Tinder it's pretty easy to dismiss someone based on their first photo. Maybe it's poorly compressed, from the delivery room or the church steps on a person's wedding day. Those might be red flags that push people to instantaneously dismiss a potential match before looking deeper at a person's profile. To help your right-swiping sojourn, though, Tinder is using data to make sure someone's best picture is the first you'll see.

The new feature is called "Smart Photos." As the company tells it, in the background, the app will alternate the first photo other people see and will reorder your glamor shots to show the ones with the highest positive response in descending order. And it goes both ways, of course; your own picture order will be altered in a way that hopefully serves you better too -- all without paying for it.

In tests, Tinder reports that users saw an up to 12 percent increase in matches. "Smart Photos takes into account each individual's swiping pattern when selecting which photos they'll see first," a blog post reads. "It's a system that gets smarter with more input: the more you swipe and the more you're swiped on, the better the algorithm serves you."

Now, this isn't exactly new for dating apps and services. OKCupid, for instance, has offered something similar before. But, the rub there was you had to opt in and then manually set the photo others deemed the best as your default. Think of this as passively outsourcing your love life.

The feature is the result of an internal hackathon, machine learning lead Mike Hall writes. Working with the app's in-house sociologist (and presumably, the algorithm) Hall found that not smiling, covering even a small bit of your face and being in a group of people dramatically lowers your chances for love. Same goes for wearing a hat or "any kind of glasses." Ouch.

The Tinder Dev blog goes pretty deep on the algorithm used ("epsilon greedy") and testing process if that's the sort of thing that turns your crank. However, if you'd rather just swipe using the new feature, it's live now. To further up your game, you could always change your anthem from Skrillex's "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" to Katy Perry's "Rise" and see if that helps.

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