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Tinder takes TODAY behind the scenes of the matchmaking app

Sean Rad, CEO of the popular dating app Tinder, shares the science behind using technology to find love.
/ Source: TODAY

All it took was a right swipe to start a love story that eventually lead to an engagement.

Katlyn Raider and Jason Zone Fisher both swiped right on Tinder. That led to a match, then to a date, then loads of dates.

“I don’t think we knew what we were getting into,” says Raider. "But it worked out for us."

After time, the two became engaged.

“We always say though one day our kids will tell their friends, ‘Our parents met the old-fashioned way on Tinder,’” says Zone Fisher.


Raider and Zone Fisher’s connection is just one of the 8 billion occurring on Tinder so far, says Sean Rad, Tinder’s CEO and founder.

“We’re changing the world in that we’re bringing people closer together and enabling connections that would have never otherwise existed,” he says.

Tinder users swipe right — or yes — to match with a person that they think is attractive.

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If both users swipe right, a match occurs and the two can communicate. Profiles mostly contain a variety of photos but some have a short bio. Most matches occur because of mutual attraction.

“Well, I think you have less information to go by in the real world ‘cause, you know, a lot of times all I have is somebody’s physical appearance. But on Tinder, you have a variety of photos that represent a story about the person,” Rad says.

The idea for swiping right to match with a potential date comes from, well, shopping, says Dan Gould, who programs the Tinder algorithm.

“A lot of the science behind doing that sort of matching was developed in ecommerce world for things like Amazon or eBay, where you’re just trying to find the right product,” he says.

And the algorithm learns as it goes.

“It’s looking at who you swipe on. You never explicitly had to say, ‘Oh I’m into skiing.’ Yet if you swipe right on every person who is into skiing, it will eventually figure out ‘Oh, well, you are interested in that,” Gould says.

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People often think that swiping to match with someone based on looks seems superficial. Even Los Angeles’ most-swiped users feel uncomfortable and agree it can seem shallow.

“I felt a little creepy at first, ‘cause you’re swiping — you’re saying yes or no to people’s faces,” says Tatiana Anderson.

But initial discomfort soon lends itself to familiarity.

“It’s all based on attraction. You’re like, “Oh man, she’s hot, I’m gonna swipe right,’” says Robert Graham.

While it might seem shallow, Rad believes that Tinder can provide a love connection for everyone.

“We want every new relationship to … start on Tinder. If we were solving that problem for single people, believe me, that is a lifetime of conquests,” he says.