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It's a big sea with hundreds – perhaps even thousands or millions – of fish. But which fish are closest to you? And which, of those fish, have romantic potential? Happn is here to help smartphone-savvy singles answer that question.
Happn, like Grindr, uses geolocation to match users with other users nearby. Every time you cross paths with someone in real life (knowingly or not), their profile shows up on your Happn timeline. Your next date could be a few steps away at work, at a party, at a cafe, at a dog park, on public transportation, or just walking down the street.
Some have called it a stalker's dream but Marie Cosnard, a spokeswoman for Happn, told The New York Times that the app aims to replicate the experience of meeting someone in real life.
“It’s true that Tinder changed the rules of online dating,” she said. “But at the same time, it’s still quite virtual, because you can browse profiles of people who are kilometers away. So we were thinking about how we could put more reality into online dating.”
Despite its mission to diverge from Tinder, Happn takes a cue or two from its predecessor. There's no swipe – instead you hit a heart button to “like” profiles – but users are only connected for conversation if there's a mutual match. Maintaining that kind of privacy feels especially important for location-based apps where users literally surround each other.
Happn's profiles, like its functionality, are basic. Each contains a few photos culled from Facebook, a small amount of personal information (employment, education, a short bio), and the option to connect Instagram and Spotify accounts. Every account uses Facebook Connect to simplify the registration process, as well as to eliminate fake profiles and profiles without pictures. The app will never post to your Facebook page.
Users have access to the vast majority of Happn's functionality for free. Should you wish to enhance your experience, you may purchase or earn credits. Purchases are made through your iTunes, Google Play, or Microsoft account. To earn free credits, invite friends to join the app. Each accepted invitation is worth 5 credits. Credits can be used to remove ads or “Say Hi” to prospective dates.
Unlike many dating services, Happn has no option to search manually for matches. All matching occurs using GPS to connect users who cross paths within a specific radius. It's possible, however, to filter your matches by a few general preferences, and to block users you don't wish to see again.
Users can personalise their profiles further with the “I'm free to...” feature. Tap the plus sign in the lower righthand corner of the home screen to let potential matches know what you feel like doing. Examples include “Go for a walk” and “Grab a bite.” People you cross paths with can reply to your suggestion for 6 hours. Voila! Insta-date.
The downside to Happn's location-dependant approach is that it's unlikely to work well in more sparsely populated regions. The app functions best in major metropolitan areas where users constantly pass other users as they go about their day-to-day activities. The app is also not a good bet for homebodies who prefer to do their digital dating from the comfort of their couch.
If neither of those limitations apply, Happn has a bustling user base and has received millions in funding so far. It may not produce a sweep-you-off-your-feet, Hollywood-style love story, but its pragmatic approach casts a wide net for potential suitors in your area.
Founder Didier Rappaport told Business Insider that Happn “puts the romanticism and spontaneity back into dating."
"You can use it when you meet someone and want to see them again. Or maybe you see them all the time but have never been able to say hello. Perhaps she/he works in the same area, or you met her at a party. You can discover the people around you,” he said. “Happn isn't a game. It's enriching. There's room for experimentation."
Positives of Happn
- Simple profiles and Facebook integration make it fast and easy to set up an account
- Happn's complete functionality is available for free; additional features can be purchased using credits
- The app attempts to replicate the experience of meeting in real life to make online dating feel a little less distant and digital
Negatives of Happn
- Potential matches are only shown via geolocation; users cannot search for matches themselves
- Though the simple profiles make for quick viewing, they don't delve into the deeper subject matter found on some other dating services
- App only functions optimally in major metropolitan areas, where users cross paths with a large number of potential matches
At a Glance
- United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, International
- English, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Other
- Member Numbers:
- Cost per Month:
- $22.99 for 100 credits
- Membership Types:
- Free - Basic + Contact
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Happn Free Membership
- Free memberships are available
- Create A Profile
- Connect with Facebook
- Log into your Facebook account to sign up
- Facebook Connect helps eliminate fake profiles and profiles without any pictures, and simplifies the registration process
- Happn will receive your public profile, friend list, email address, birthday, work history, photos, personal description, and likes
- Can edit permissions to restrict access
- The app will not post to your Facebook profile
- Enable your phone's location services
- Your location will never be visible; only crossing points are recorded
- Edit profile
- Work and Studies
- Job, employer, school
- About Me
- Create bio
- Connect your Instagram and Spotify accounts
- Work and Studies
- Connect with Facebook
- Upload and sort photos
- Happn will automatically import your photos from Facebook
- Users can also add photos from their phone's gallery
- Drag and drop to sort the photos
- My Preferences
- Invite Friends
- Manage app settings
- Activate/deactivate notifications
- Connect Instagram and Spotify accounts
- Create A Profile
- Not Included:
- Some actions like "Say Hi" or "I'm In" cost credits that can be purchased directly from the in-app store
Relationship Types Allowed
Your Relationship Status
Relationships You can Look For
- Prices last confirmed May 1, 2017. Please check Happn for most recent pricing
- Access to all of Happn's basic functionality is completely free, however, some actions like "Say Hi" or "I'm In" cost credits
- 10 credits for $2.99
- 60 credits for $14.99 (16% discount)
- 100 credits for $22.99 (23% discount)
- 250 credits for $39.99 (46% discount)
- Credits are purchased directly from the in-app store
- Users can also earn free credits by inviting friends to join the app (5 credits for each accepted invitation)
- Purchases are made through your iTunes, Google Play, or Microsoft account. Accepted payment methods may vary by country
Happn Viewing & Communication Tools
- Mail Messages
- Tap the icons in the lower right to send a song or emoji, or record a voice message
- Like or Skip Profiles
- Skips are secret; you will not see them again and you will not be visible if you cross paths again
- Say Hi
- Crush Time
- Crush Time is a match type game that pops up every so often
- It gives users another opportunity to connect with people they cross paths with in real life. CrushTime presents four users you’ve recently been near. One is a person who has already liked you (a “Crush”)
- If you pick the correct one you can start chatting in-app immediately with your new match
- If you’re wrong, it’s simply a non-mutual like and no one knows but you. You can either start a new game or try again if you’re into one of the remaining profiles
- For more info on this feature see: Happn Launches New Pop-Up Matching Feature
- I'm free to...
- Let other users know what you feel like doing
- Options include “grab a bite”, “go for a walk”, “get a drink”, etc
- People you cross paths with can reply to your suggestion for 6 hours
Search For Members By
- Happn does not offer a standard search – instead the app uses GPS to connect users who cross paths within a specific radius
- My Preferences
- Filter matches by gender and age
- Pause Happn for 8 hours
- View declined/blocked users
Other Happn Information
- As of January 2016, Happn had 10 million users
- Happn is venture-backed with at least $22 million in funding
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