Tinder doesn’t have a lot of pretenses. It has all but outwardly embraced the fact that it’s a hook up enabler, and it doesn’t appear to care about the “find the love of your life” schtick that most dating services stick with. For another app to wind up and take a swing at the few barriers Tinder does put in place is downright ballsy.
That’s exactly what Clover is doing.
Clover (available for iOS) is one part Tinder, one part OKCupid — and with its most recent update to version 3.0, it’s thrown in a dash of the now defunct Crazy Blind Date. The new feature, referred to as On-Demand Dating, promises a date in two tabs. Users pick a time and location for a date and Clover finds them a partner. It’s an experience best served with cheap champagne.
Clover CEO Isaac Riachyk promises, “You’ll be able to find a date as easy as it is to order a pizza or a cab,” which sounds great! No one has ever had a bad experience with an Uber driver so what could possibly go wrong with this? You can of course review the person you’re paired with before confirming so if you browse a dude’s profile and all his favorite movies are documentaries about serial killers, you can cancel the meet up.
Outside of the new On-Demand feature, Clover does its best to encourage you to talk to as many people as possible by removing the barrier between users. Where Tinder only matches people who both declare interest, Clover shows you everything; Everyone you like will see that you liked them and you will see everyone that likes you.
This can really go one of two ways: The first possibility is everyone drops their inhibitions and embraces their attraction based on little more than a stack of pictures and an incredibly small amount of data points. Clover doesn’t share a whole lot about users unless you decide to pay, so physical attraction is the primary motivation for most interactions on this app. Which is totally cool – embracing that is great and probably leads to some fun times.
The other scenario is that Clover becomes the virtual version of your middle school dance, with girls and guys all standing on opposite sides of the room waiting for someone to make the first move. Knowing that expressing interest in a person will automatically alert them to your desires creates a difficult barrier in behavior. It’s pretty much everything that apps like Tinder have tried to, removing outright rejection from the equation.
Then again, Clover is far more open ended than Tinder. You aren’t forced down a linear path, required to make a yes or no decision about every person the app presents before you meet more potential matches. Clover lets you scroll through every possible partner. Give them a yes or a no if you feel strongly enough one way or another, or just leave them in your feed and come back later. Clover is all about creating as many opportunities as possible.
That’s why it shows you people that like you even if you didn’t return the gesture initially. It gives you a second chance at considering someone, and you can restore someone you accidentally passed on by shaking your phone to undo the action. It’s nice if you happened to bypass someone who may have more in common with you than you think. It’s also great if your goal is to feel wanted and receive attention with little concern for who provides it.
The good part about the nonlinear setup of Clover is that you can basically use it however you see fit. If you want to exert a little more discretion in your courtship, you can browse people without making immediate decisions. If you’re looking for just about anyone to grab a drink with on demand and see what might come of it, you can do that too.
Clover definitely enables more casual encounters if you choose to throw caution to the wind and start tapping the like button, knowing those people will see your curiosity. If you’re comfortable with that, then there is probably some fun to be had for you with Clover. The tagline for this app is “Get Lucky,” after all.
The On-Demand dating feature will debut for users in version 3.0 of the app, available before the end of 2014.