Dating, hookup and socialising apps have been coming thick and fast into the Indian market that now has top billing in the plans of various tech giants across the globe. The latest entrant in this hotly contested space has arrived on the country’s shores in the form of happn, which introduced Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan as its face on Friday. Cofounder Didier Rappaport, who is also the brain behind Dailymotion, likes to brand it as a meeting app.
“Other dating apps like Tinder lead to objectification of people through a mere swipe. On the contrary, we respect each individual and are more of a tool against misconnection,” he pointed out the ideological differences between happn and the existing competition in the Indian market.
How it works
Rappaport defines happn as the only dating app that allows you to find the people you’ve crossed paths with in real life, which is made possible through the “unique combination of real-time and hyper-location.” The app is designed to encourage people previously expressed a mutual interest in each other to meet for real, according to him.
It is in this spirit that the makers have created the ‘See You There’ feature. With a simple click, you could indicate on your profile what you are up to within the next 6 hours (e.g. ‘grab a drink/coffee’, ‘catch a movie’ etc) so that people around you can react upon it and invite you to connect, in order to share an activity with you.
More than the sum of its parts
The makers also consider happn a tool to interact with likeminded people. “I was once in a modern art museum in the US. And through the app, I discovered other users in my vicinity, who were apparently visiting the place and shared a similar passion for art,” told Rappaport.
It is interesting to note that happn is also the first app of its kind to appoint a Bollywood star as its brand ambassador. The app could thus come in as a blessing for not just the commoners but also celebrities like the Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara actor and Harshvardhan Kapoor, who have spoken openly about the downsides of using dating apps for people from their ilk.
Despite huge public uproar, crimes against women have only gone north in the recent past. So, does hyperlocation not present a threat to women’s safety? “The geo tracking employed by happn is not based on the location of the user but the area that they’re in. So basically we’re not tracking movement and only locating the neighbourhoods the user is in,” he said.
“We have also formulated a strict flagging policy. So once someone is blocked, they will never be able to contact you again. In fact, there was also active involvement of women in the development of the app in order to also give inputs on bolstering the safety aspect for female users,” he added.