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31-Jan-2018 21:22

Asked what barriers he sees to people using the app to make new friends (over and above the creep factor it’s actively working to mitigate), Daher agrees there are a “bunch of problems” — including people not yet being comfortable with the concept of a friend-making app and the fact that, therefore, “very few people talk about it”.

“This is reminiscent of online dating a decade ago where it was nearly taboo to be on such an app.

Point being: If you’re starting from a position of there not being enough users in the first place, requiring your (very small) pool of users to earn and spend points to do things like boost their visibility seems a bit pointlessly heavy-handed (even if it’s intended to encourage greater usage overall).

Daher agrees that lack of users generally is a big barrier for Patook.

And while there’s no shortage of out-and-out dating apps, offering ample opportunities for hook ups with individual/s from your sex of choice, what if you just want to make new friends to hang with platonically?

Patook is an app that’s been around for a little while (the beta launched in mid 2016) which is attempting to crack this tricky feat of remotely sparking friendships.

Somewhat ironically, Patook recycles the Tinder ‘swipe to like’ mechanism as one of the options for screening potential friend matches, although you can also switch to a list view — arguably a better fit for a friend-finding scenario where making snap judgements on whether someone is potential friendship material just from a short online profile seems even less sane than doing so in a dating context.

Before you get to that bit, the app has a fairly customizable filter interface which allows you to spec out some basics for finding potential buddies — offering the ability to select gender; whether you want to friend couples; specify an age range; and set how far from your location to search.

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In my case I liked a few other profiles but never felt an urge to proactively try and break any ice.Daher says Patook built its flirt-detecting, messaging parsing algorithm by training it on sentences considered flirty (some culled from Reddit) and others considered normal.