Facebook is testing a video-based lover hunting app: Sparked

Facebook is testing a video-based lover hunting app: Sparked

Facebook has confirmed that it is testing a video-based lover hunting app, Sparked, after the app’s website was discovered by The Verge.

Unlike big matching apps like Tinder, Sparked doesn’t allow users to swipe to find someone they like or send a direct message. Instead, repeat short video dates to connect with others.

The product is being developed by Facebook’s in-house R&D group, the New Product Experimentation team, but has never been officially announced.

“Sparked is an early experiment with the New Product Experimentation,” a spokeswoman for Facebook’s NPE team told TechCrunch: “We’re looking for a video-first lover, but which one is for people to find love online. I’m looking for ways to help.”

The company also conducted a “small external beta test” aimed at gaining insight into how video dating works with the app to improve the experience gained with Facebook’s products. It is said that there is. Currently, this app is not distributed in app stores, etc., but is published only on the web.

The Verge reports that the app is already ready to be tested at the Date Night event in Chicago on April 1st.

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When registering for the app, Sparked tells users to be “compassionate,” “moderate,” and “show up.” According to the app, participants will be able to repeat a 4-minute video date with different people first, and then have a 10-minute video date if they like each other.

You can also choose to exchange contacts such as phone numbers, email addresses, and Instagram handles.

As many of you may know, Facebook already offers a dating app called “Facebook Dating” in some countries and territories.

This feature, which is built into Facebook itself, was first introduced in Colombia in 2018 and will be available in the United States in 2019.

In the early days of the coronavirus infection epidemic, Facebook announced that it would develop a virtual dating experience using Messenger’s video chat feature, but at the same time many other dating apps were also at home in the market.

It was starting to look at videos to serve users. If Sparked’s purpose isn’t to be introduced as one of the options offered within Facebook Dating, it could compete directly with these video dating apps.

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Despite the potential reach, some analysts warn that Facebook is not guaranteed to succeed in the dating app market. People don’t think of Facebook as a meeting place for partners, and Sparked is currently separated from Facebook’s main app for privacy reasons.

In short, it’s likely that Facebook’s network effects aren’t fully exploited and users don’t want their friends and family to know about their date plans.

The competition in the dating app market is fierce for Facebook. The epidemic of the new coronavirus did not slow down major dating apps like Match Group and the just-IPO Bumble. For example, Match Group reports that the group’s direct revenue from Tinder reached $ 1.4 billion in 2020, up 18% year-on-year.

Direct revenues from the company’s non-Tinder brands totaled a 16% increase. In addition, Bumble exceeded its earnings forecast in the first quarter it was a public company, and posted $ 165.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Facebook, on the other hand, doesn’t say much about dating efforts. The company claims to have performed more than 1.5 billion matches in the 20 countries it serves, but “matching” does not mean successful pairing, and in the first place, such results are measured.

That said, Facebook Dating, which was finally introduced to the European market in the fall of 2020, is still in its infancy.

Ultimately, the NPE team’s Sparked experiment will help Facebook find out what new experiences users want to take advantage of and how.

Facebook doesn’t say if Sparked will be more widely deployed or when it will be rolled out.

Rachel Maga
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life's biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.