Who would have thought that one day we’d be using technology to find love? But that’s what’s happening now. That is why we have numerous match-making portals and dating apps to help us hunt for that elusive ‘True Love’.
Woo – Dating for Singles is one such app. Launched in July 2014 by Co-founders Mr. Sumesh Menon and Mr Ankit Nautiyal (yeah, it’s Made in India!), Woo is now one of India’s leading match-making apps. By now, it has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times.
Woo started its journey from India but is now also available in other countries of South East Asia including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. Woo has been designed for the young, urban, single professionals looking for a life partner. It bridges the gap between casual fling-oriented dating apps and matrimonial portals.
I reviewed Woo recently and here are what I consider its highlights:
The setup is easy. The app can only be used with a Facebook login. A Facebook login helps in keeping fake profiles away. It automatically adds your Facebook name and profile image to your Woo account. So unless you are faking it on Facebook too, you can’t put a fake photo on Woo. During the setup, the app asks you to select tags that best describe your interests and preferences. Based on your choices, age and region, Woo automatically shows you suitable profiles. You can go to the settings of the app to indicate whether you are looking for friendship, dating or more serious relationship. I guess, this too is taken into consideration by Woo for delivering you recommendations.
I found the user interface quite simple and pleasing. The app shows you profile photos of individuals it considers suitable for you. You can just flip through them. In case you accidentally, skipped some one, you can view the profile again by going to Skipped Profiles (Paid feature) in Settings. Under each profile photo shown full screen to you, there are button using which you can Like or Skip a photo or send a Crush. This dating app also allows users to post questions to other users and answer question posted to them by other users. The app suggests that Sending Crushes and using question and answers helps in Boosting your profile for more visibility. If you Like a user and the user likes you back, it’s a Match. Then you can chat with the person. The app also allows users to do a Tag Search to find people matching their interests.
Security and privacy is of prime importance in any dating app that connects you with strangers. So while reviewing the app, I wondered about the security measures employed by Woo to keep its users safe from miscreants. I asked Woo’s representative and she was so good to send me this detailed answer
“For Woo safety is a key consideration, especially on an app of a social nature and most serious developers prioritize it as a top agenda. Our focus on security runs through the entire app experience, starting from onboarding where our machine learning algorithm weeds out any fake/ pseudo profiles. All communication between potential matches can seamlessly happen within our app environment through our enhanced chat engine.
Woo as a brand has always placed women at the center of its thinking and from day 1. Its key features are designed to provide women complete control and security over their information and interactions. Woo’s special security features, such as only showing a woman’s initials, as opposed to her full name, provide women control on only sharing specific personal information once they are comfortable with someone. (In case of men, only their first name as given on their Facebook profile is displayed on Woo.)
Our screening happens at various levels before anyone can even set up a Woo profile. We analyze every user’s digital footprint to verify their relationship status and professional information. There are three layers of screening which we do to ensure the authenticity of our user – Technical screening, Manual Screening and Community feedback.
Curation has a strong emphasis on community feedback to ensure thrill-seekers, married folks (Woo is only for singles!) or any mischief-makers are kept out of the community. There are multiple filters both automated as well as manual that we use to ensure that the people cannot enter the app under false pretenses. Even if you have changed your marital status in Facebook, there is a high probability that the profile will be curated out manually.
If any of our user experiences any discomfort, they can flag that user. As soon as a user is flagged, our curators are notified and they re-screen them and then they are permanently blocked.
On an average 30% of signups are rejected daily if they don’t meet our stringent standards. But no amount of technology in the world can supersede the user’s own judgment and discretion on whether or not they want to interact with someone, in real life or otherwise. That choice is the user’s prerogative. Our promise is to help people find potential matches and then they lead the conversation from there.”
Here I’d like to mention that I created an account on Woo using a Facebook profile that I’ve only created for logging into apps that I have to review. It’s a fake profile since it uses a guy’s name (hero of my first novel Dream’s Sake), a cartoon picture as profile photo and has no friends. I was able to create my account on Woo and see the suggested users. It’s been hours since and my account is still live on Woo. In short, the Technical and automated Screening at least has failed to block me out because of my fake Facebook profile.
Another thing is, the FAQs of Woo mention that it does not allow taking of screenshots. Well, all the images used in this post are screenshots taken without any trouble using an old Android phone.
While downloading the app, I also noticed that there are several other apps on Google Play bearing similar names. To get the app that is being reviewed in this post, use the link given at the end. Other apps might be unsafe clones.
Free app but with in-app purchases:
The app is free to install and use. But it does have in-app purchases without which the app is very restricted in functionality. People generally don’t like using paid apps or apps which force them to make in-app purchases by being too limited otherwise. However, when it comes to dating apps or matchmaking apps, you want to make sure that no casual flirts come in your way. It can be expected that only those people who are serious about finding a good relationship through this app will bother spending money on it. Those who are just looking for casual fun are not likely to spend money. And this will prevent them from making full use of the app, which in turn will keep them from bothering other users. The paid in-app features include the ability to send Crushes and seeing who has viewed and liked your profile.
Overall Review of “Woo – Dating for Singles” dating app:
Overall, Woo seems to be a good matchmaking app if you want to use your smartphone to find you friends, dates or romantic relationship. It has good security and privacy measures which, combined with good sense, can help in warding off the dangers of using such dating apps. The user interface is clean and pleasant. It can’t be used without Facebook login. Users can check it out for free, but the free features are quite limited. But if you are ready to shell out a bit of money and want to meet new people, than this app can be fun.