When Tinder became available to all smartphone users in , it ushered in a new era in the history of romance. It aimed to give readers the backstory on marrying couples and, in the meantime, to explore how romance was changing with the times. But in , seven of the 53 couples profiled in the Vows column met on dating apps. The year before, 71 couples whose weddings were announced by the Times met on dating apps. Dating apps originated in the gay community; Grindr and Scruff, which helped single men link up by searching for other active users within a specific geographic radius, launched in and , respectively. With the launch of Tinder in , iPhone-owning people of all sexualities could start looking for love, or sex, or casual dating, and it quickly became the most popular dating app on the market. But the gigantic shift in dating culture really started to take hold the following year, when Tinder expanded to Android phones, then to more than 70 percent of smartphones worldwide. Shortly thereafter, many more dating apps came online. But the reality of dating in the age of apps is a little more nuanced than that.
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