Yes, Spin the Bottle is now a dating app*
*This was originally published on Geektime at https://www.geektime.com/2016/12/03/yes-spin-the-bottle-is-now-a-dating-app/ on December 3rd, 2016. Geektime migrated their site and lost articles published before 2019. As a result, only my own copies of these previously published articles can be made available. Original links are included but broken.
Here, you can put a new spin on an old game (forgive the pun)
The bottle spinning on the floor loses momentum with every sweep around the circle. Tension mounts as you look at the faces around you, wondering where it will land, to whom it will be pointing, and what the possibilities are once it stops.
It seems like we’ve all played Spin the Bottle at some point in our youth. Now, that very experience — the fun, the excitement, and the thrill — lives on in the Spin the Bottle dating app. Currently, it is available in New York City via the App Store, but soon it will become available in more cities and for Android.
To get started, the user confirms their phone number and connects via Facebook. The app doesn’t show up on your timeline and will never post anything to Facebook, but it will conveniently let you import any of your pictures and add your interests automatically, saving you from the dull task of having to build a profile and catalogue your interests manually. This handy feature takes you from opening the app for the first time to getting right into the dating scene in record time. It also ensures that the people the user sees in their circle and gets matched with are real.
Spin the Bottle’s tagline, “meet people, not profiles,” is entirely correct. You don’t swipe through overly manicured profiles trying to find out who seems genuine or waste time trying to decipher how much someone’s constructed online dating persona actually matches them in real life. Instead, the app uses input from a person’s real Facebook, so you’re seeing the same face they show their friends and the same hobbies they actively follow online. (None of that “I like long, lonely walks on the beach” stuff people think they’re supposed to say they’re interested in, but the real stuff!)
Once you’ve gotten your profile set up, it’s time to start spinning. You’ll be greeted with a bottle at the center of your screen and a circle of profile photos surrounding it. You can click on any of the photos to get a closer look and see if you have mutual interests with that person. Additionally, if you’re not interested in someone, you can also “flick” them out of your circle and never see them again.
Once you’re ready to spin, swipe your finger across the bottle and watch it twirl around, slower and slower, not revealing its choice until the last titillating moment. This is when the similarities between the app and the old version of Spin the Bottle really shine through. Instead of kissing, though, once the bottle lands you’ll immediately enter into a 30-second mini-date video call with your match where you can see them face-to-face and both learn a bit about each other.
Photo credit: Spin the Bottle / YouTube
The mini-date is thrilling. It’s a safe but simultaneously invigorating experience to be put face-to-face with someone right then and there. That butterflies-in-your-stomach exhilaration of being paired with someone and having to really talk finally puts some excitement back in the online dating scene. Once the mini-date is over, you can choose to give them a “kiss.” If they do the same then you’re a match and can view each other’s profile and continue to chat and message through the app.
Spin the Bottle offers some other cool features as well. For instance, if you see someone in your spin circle you really like, you can click on them for a “direct hit,” and not leave anything up to chance. If you do this, you and the lucky person will go into your 30-second mini-date without having to cross your fingers for the bottle to hit who you want. If you’re really enjoying the chat, there’s also an option to extend the session for another 30 seconds before deciding if you want to give that person a “kiss” or not.
Additionally, the app uses “advanced face detection technology” to be sure that those mini-dates are really face-to-face encounters and not face-to-anything-else situations. As Spin the Bottle puts it, the technology is used to “prevent any unwanted ‘junk’ from interrupting your date.” You may be laughing when you read that, but as a woman who spends a lot of time on the internet, I can tell you that this is a feature I’m truly thankful they’ve considered!
In the end, Spin the Bottle provides something the wide world of dating apps has been missing. It gives users the spontaneity and excitement that so many other apps don’t have, and it helps ensure that you truly get to see the person you matched with, not only in some pre-constructed profile, but also in real time. This modern interpretation of an old and familiar favorite is due to be a hit. Give it a spin and see where the bottle lands for you!