Taste Brings a Cards Against Humanity-Style Edge to Dating Apps

Illustration for article titled Taste Brings a Cards Against Humanity-Style Edge to Dating Apps
Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP (Getty Images)

Dating apps are usually cutesy, at best. The questions they ask are always geared toward the agreeable and the design is chipper and romantic. Taste, a new dating app, isn’t that.

Billing itself as a “twisted dating game,” the app asks questions that range from the confrontational to the borderline dirty. These include inquiring whether you think colleges are overpriced, whether you thought Rudy Giuliani was going to get some in Borat 2, or whether or not you’d sleep with Donald Trump for $1 million. It’s not totally NSFW, but it’s definitely not Coffee Meets Bagel.

A young entrepreneur named Brock Kyle created the app after playing a few games of Cards Against Humanity.

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“My background is ethnically and experientially diverse,” he said. “I’m an African-American student turned entrepreneur who’s spent time working in the music industry, social media, corporate, and more. I’m a self-taught designer (who’s still learning), having worked on two student-run startups prior to founding Taste. I’m really interested in the intersection of technology, design, and culture, and hope to make some great products that explore that intersection.”

The entire app is bootstrapped, but he’s looking for investment. It’s definitely in its early stages, but the design is solid and the functionality is fine.

The app experience is simple: You create an account, answer a few risqué questions, and swipe past some folks who share similar beliefs. Being out of the market for some time, I wasn’t interested in meeting many people, and I definitely didn’t since Taste is currently suffering from the empty room problem. This means there aren’t enough users on the platform to create mass adoption that results in slide-in users. That said, the app is a fun ride and worth checking out.

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“By focusing on rewarding instant, authentic expression, we create an intimate environment with an added layer of intimacy that leverages instant expression around controversial viewpoints to facilitate quality connections,” he said. In short, he means he’s pissing people off so they’ll be easier to match. Kyle said his goal isn’t to anger the user but to make them think and laugh.

“We’re giving online dating several shots of tequila,” he said.

Doing the cutesy app dance is all well and good, but Taste sort of weaponizes the system. It’s definitely not fully-baked, but it’s a cool idea and the entrepreneur—who is thinking hard about the commoditization and superficiality of dating appsis happy to flip the script.

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“As popular dating services have brought profile aggregation to the forefront, providing a new landscape and attracting a new demographic, an individual’s dating ‘profile’ often is reduced to their best photos, and fails to accurately depict that individual as a person,” Kyle said. “As a result, low-quality matchmaking is facilitated more often than not.”

The app is available now on iOS and should expand to Android next year.

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John Biggs is a writer from Ohio who lives in Brooklyn. He likes books, watches, and his dog. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Gizmodo. Signal: +16468270591 Telegram: @johnbiggs

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Did I just wake up in a timeline where OkCupid never happened? Because it should have been mentioned briefly in this article.