Dating apps are mostly a solitary effort, with users swiping on prospective soulmates from the comfort of their own couch. Ship, a dating app that lets single people involve friends in the matchmaking process, may change that. The Match Group and Betches Media have now released an Android version of Ship, which lets users swipe for their friends and discuss profiles in group messages. The iOS version, which debuted back in January, is now the fastest-growing dating app in the Match Group family, which also includes Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid and PlentyofFish.
With Ship, users can invite their friends (as well as parents, siblings and especially wise roommates) to join a "crew". Members of the user's crew can swipe on dating profiles on their behalf. A "crew chat" group messaging feature can be used for members to discuss the merits of a potential match in greater detail.
Getting friends to weigh in on potential romantic pursuits on a dating app may be nerve-wracking for some, but for others, it's a vital part of courtship. The practice of texting friends screenshots of notable profiles is already pretty widespread. An entire subreddit, r/Tinder, is devoted to sharing conversations and reviewing profiles. In recent updates, many dating apps have acknowledged this surge in groupthink mentality. Tinder, Hinge and Bumble all allow users to share profiles with friends.
But an entire, extended swiping session on a friend's behalf is a step further than merely linking to an attractive profile. The former requires a degree of trust and intimacy that most users likely don't share with casual acquaintances. On Ship, the practice of "shipping" or swiping for a friend is taking off. A total of 53 percent of the matches made on Ship come from people who are swiping on behalf of their friends, a spokesperson for the app confirmed. With online dating, it may be the case that our friends understand us even better than we do.