Mike Isaac

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To Combat Creepiness, WhosHere Launches In-App Video Chat

Last we heard from the social discovery-based dating scene, mobile app Girls Around Me was receiving much unwanted attention from the press. Using location check-in data from Foursquare, the app told you literally which girls were nearby.

It was, in a word, creepy.

WhosHere, another social discovery application used primarily for dating, is trying its hardest to fight that stereotype.

“We’ve put a tremendous amount of effort into not being creepy,” CEO and co-founder Bryant Harris told me. Users can fill out profiles however they wish, using a pseudonym or an avatar that isn’t a shot of their face. If two people are interested in one another, they can communicate via text or VoIP call within the app itself, without requiring phone numbers.

But there comes a point in e-dating where two people must take things to the next level. And texts and even phone calls can only tell a person so much.

In-app video chat, a feature that WhosHere is launching on Wednesday, is the next natural step for the app. It’s a way of moving forward in connecting with others without the peskiness of having to take the full leap of meeting in person. It’s also a way to verify someone is who they say they are before meeting in the flesh. After all, you never know who’s actually on the other end of a profile.

“Just like in the real world, you go through a progression of how you interact,” says COO Stephen Smith.

I’m not entirely convinced that the world is ready to move to dating via smartphone. But the app has garnered more than five million iOS installations since 2008, so at least some folks are smitten with the premise.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik