If you can’t meet a date in person, then where they live doesn’t really matter. That’s what Tinder seems to think, anyway. The company is reportedly planning to test a new Global Mode, which will allow profiles to show up around the world, The Verge reports. Users will be able to match with people in other cities, states and even countries.
Tinder says it will begin rolling out the “first steps” of Global Mode in late May but that it will take some time before it is available to all members. To start, Global Mode will be a free opt-in feature.
"Our Gen Z members have been telling us for some time they want to meet people across the globe, and our new world order, paired with our distinctive global scale, solidifies that demand. We already had plans to open geographic filters, and now we’ve accelerated them," a Tinder spokesperson said in a comment provided to Engadget.
Tinder has a similar, paid feature called Passport that lets people connect with users in other locations. Last month, Tinder made Passport free to all users, but that offer expired on April 30th.
While Global Mode will do away with geographic boundaries, it sounds like it won’t allow users to decide which cities they pop up in. That could be one way for Tinder to distinguish between Global Mode and Passport, so that it can still keep Passport as a paid feature.
Tinder isn’t the first to loosen dating boundaries in response to the pandemic. In April, Bumble made it possible for users to match with anyone in the US with a “whole country” filter. It added a Virtual Date badge for users willing to date via video chat, and it has teamed up with Airbnb to encourage creative online dating. Tinder is also preparing for virtual dates with plans to launch one-on-one video chats this summer.
It’s clear that, like everything else, dating has been impacted by COVID-19. While app users probably shouldn’t meet in person, swiping is up. Tinder said it saw more swipes (over three billion) on March 29th than on any single day in its history. Letting users match around the world, might give the app even more of a boost.
Update 5/21/2020 1:00PM ET: This story was updated to include a quote and additional info from Tinder.