Many online dating apps available today are offering a GPS feature that can help singles find others looking for love right where they are. But what are the risks and reward associated with GPS-based dating apps?
Sam Hyde met his fiance Nina through such an app.
"I was a little skeptical at first, I thought you know, this is, jeez this is going to tell people where I am," Hyde said.
But one day he checked in through his GPS app and he discovered that Nina was standing in line at the same place he was. They messaged to meet up.
"We just locked eyes and it was love at first sight, love at first text," Hyde said.
Hyde and Nina aren't the only ones using this service either. Singles Around Me says roughly 20,000 singles install their app each week. OKCupid says that one million of its three million users use their GPS features. And How About We estimates that one in four of its online daters now incorporate GPS into their searches.
"It's revolutionizing the way people are using their phones in order to meet people in the real world," Aaron Schildkrout, co-founder of How About We, said.
Each app works a little differently. In some, a user's profile and general location are published to other singles nearby who can message back if they'd like to meet. There are obvious safety concerns with such a feature.
"You don't know who you're dealing with and if you're dealing with a photo you don't know if it's that person's photo of if it's real, if it's made up," Alan Rosenthal, an investigative consultant, said.
Hyde says he had an experience when a man posed as a woman to lure him into a meeting. Rosenthal says that the biggest problem of GPS dating is the immediacy of it. In traditional and even online dating, singles have time to vet the person they are meeting. But with GPS dating you could be face to face in minutes.
"You have no time to vet them or even to think about what your actions, your interactions or the ramifications are going to be," Rosenthal said.
Skout has made massive changes to its teen site after three teens were sexually assaulted when they met men posing as teens. Meet Moi, which sends profiles of people in your general location, says they never share exact locations. How About We says they've have no problems.