Dating has gone digital. Once considered a realm inhabited only by the socially awkward, online dating is now just another tool in the toolbox, no matter whether you’re looking for a hook-up or your soulmate.
Still, there are some disadvantages. You never know who you’re going to end up meeting, and sometimes your match isn’t who you thought they were. Many people are wary about giving out phone numbers as well, although that’s not a bad way to plan a date. These four extensions for Chrome will solve these problems, and more.
For whatever reason, dating sites love thumbnails. A bit too much, some might say. Sure, it’s a great way to pack a lot of face in a webpage, but often each image is difficult to make out.
Enter Photo Zoom, an extension that will automatically up-scale a thumbnail image. This works on most dating sites, the notable exception being PlentyOfFish, which seems to have broken this feature recently. A similar app, focused exclusively on that site, called PlentyOfPics, also stopped working recently.
On the sites where it does work (most of them), you merely need to hover your cursor over an image and a larger version will appear. Presto! Now you can feed your vanity by admiring mugs before clicking on profiles.
OKCupid is, in my opinion, one of the better online dating sites. It’s free, so anyone can join, but people tend to put a fair amount of effort into their profiles. The site is also rather easy to navigate by default, but these extensions make it even better.
BetterCupid applies some custom styling to the website, adding more images and some additional settings, such as filters to your view or recent visitors. QuickCupid, on the other hand, makes it possible to browse match photos from the search page – without it, you have to navigate to the profile and then to the photos section to see them all.
The phone is an important tool for dating. A quick call to firm up a date by either party can reduce the chance of a no-show, and might make one or both people feel more comfortable. Still, phone calls usually aren’t used because they require that each person reveal their number, and no one really wants to do that with someone they don’t yet know.
Enter Babble.ly. Now offering a Chrome extension, this service can create a link with your phone number, and allow someone to call you by clicking it. In doing so they don’t reveal your phone number or theirs, keeping the whole experience anonymous.
The downside? Babble.ly restricts calls to 10 minutes, though that should be more than enough to firm up a date. If you’d like to talk for longer, but don’t want to reveal your number, consider purchasing a virtual number from Skype or using a Google Voice number. They’re easy to throw away in the event of some e-stalker badness.
It should be noted that there are a lot of internet dating services online with Chrome apps available, but I didn’t go into them here because they’re easy to locate (just search for dating) and they’re what you’d expect.
These extensions and services present some creative ways to improve your online dating, but I’d like to hear from you about ways you’ve made creative use of apps, extensions, and services to improve or safeguard your online dating experience. Let us know in the comments!