These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright AleksandarNakic How many couples will have met online this Valentine's Day? More than ever before is the safe answer, as online dating continues to sweep the world. But is data crunching the best way to find a partner? In the future, a computer program could dictate who you date, and for how long. But technology already has radically changed romance, with online dating growing massively in popularity ever since Match.
Now apps, such as Tinder, with their speedy account set-ups and "swipe to like" approach, have taken dating to another level. Tinder launched in on the back of the explosion in smartphone use.
Just two years later it was registering more than a billion "swipes" a day. In America's last presidential election, the Democratic campaign logo encouraged voters to "swipe right for Hillary". Jordan Brown, a year-old blogger, says she "had a bit of a swipe" in October , and met her current boyfriend, who lived an hour-and-a-half away. She would not have met him otherwise, she says, adding that the two bonded over a shared love of Disney.
When year-old Sara Scarlett moved to Dubai in , she joined Tinder to meet new people. She met her last boyfriend after a month. But converting swipes to dates can be difficult, she says.
Swapping swiping for supper dates also proved a problem for Jordan. Despite such frustrations, dating apps have grown relentlessly.
Online dating has been particularly useful for gay men, as homosexuality is still punishable by death in five countries and parts of two others, says Grindr's Jack Harrison-Quintana. Dating apps made up three of the top 10 apps by consumer spend last year in the UK, says Paul Barnes, a director at App Annie.
In France, home of romance, they accounted for six of the top Now machine learning is also being marshalled in the quest for better matches. A small amount of text - to words from Twitter posts - is enough for their software to decide how much two people will have in common, claims Daigo Smith, co-founder of LoveFlutter.
LoveFlutter has paired up with Toronto-based natural language processing firm Receptiviti to create new approaches to matching people that they will start using this year. These draw on research by James Pennebaker, a social psychology professor at the University of Austin, Texas.
Prof Pennebaker studied 86 couples and found partners using similar frequencies of function words - articles, conjunctions, and pronouns - were most likely still to be together after three months. Another data-based approach is to use your smartphone's location to find potential dates. Paris-based app happn analyses where you have been during the day, then shows you people who passed within metres of you.
These people will be easiest to meet in real life, says Claire Certain, happn's head of trends. If it's going to be a good match or not is very mysterious, chemistry is very surprising. Whereas online dating has increased the incidence of interracial dating, he says. Rachel Katz, an American who studied Tinder for her master's degree at Cambridge University and is now studying Grindr for her doctorate, agrees. Then we had the internet, and all these infinite possibilities for soulmates across the world; it didn't matter where they were.
Imagine scanning people with your phone in a nightclub and seeing how many have made their dating profiles available, says happn's Claire Certain. More Technology of Business.