Can you find true love through big data?

Published September 9, 2014   |   
Raghav Ravisankar

The history of the algorithm for dating websites date back to mid-1960s, where there was a computer service, where participants punched holes into a set of questions and a computer processed the questions from different participants and returned matches. The first dating website, came up in 1995 and kick-started the modern dating era. Nowadays, many dating websites like OKCupid, eHarmony, Zoosk have up to 15 to 30 million users and use different algorithms to match their users. But having so much data about each user involves huge amounts of data. And dealing with that much data involves a lot of big data analytics.

Matchmaking users

The algorithm used in dating websites is pretty simple. Users fill in the answers to a set of questions, users who have similar questions to answers are matched together. More the similar questions, higher the match percentage. But in today’s world, we have a lot of other sources to get information about a user than just questions.

In all this, there’s a lot of data which is being processed and this data needs to stored and also processed. Big data technologies are increasingly being employed to find out ideal questions that lead to relationships. It has been found out that these three questions most future couples agree on their first date.

• “Do you like horror movies?”

• “Have you ever traveled around another country alone?”

• “Wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and go live on a sailboat?”

Often, what a person thinks they want may be different from what they actually prefer. With the user’s permission, we can obtain information about a person’s music preferences through their Spotify profile, their film-watching history through Netflix, their professional career through LinkedIn and interests and disinterests through Facebook and Tumblr profiles. This could be used to give more accurate match percentages between two users. By tracking the type of profiles that particular user visits, suggestions for similar kinds of people can be produced for better results, like suggestions in Amazon.

As we have better technologies for better searches, we increase our chances of finding that special one. However, a computer can never find out if two people are really perfect for each other. It always comes down to meeting the prospective match in person and dating them.