Like any diligent single looking for love, Nicodemos Varnava received a bundle of recommended matches on Coffee Meets Bagel recently and evaluated them accordingly.
The dating app suggested one person in particular who caught the 25-year-old New Brunswick, NJ, resident’s eye — the woman was strikingly attractive and seemed to have similar interests. But Varnava’s hopes were dashed when he dug deeper and realized she had a fatal flaw.
“I saw that she had been listening to Nickelback,” he tells The Post, barely able to utter the name of the widely reviled Canadian rock band.
Varnava made his deal-breaking discovery using Mixtape, a feature launched within Coffee Meets Bagel in January. Mixtape links with music-streaming juggernaut Spotify to mine users’ public playlists and most-listened-to songs — revealing what they are actually listening to, not just what they claim to like.
“It showed she had poor taste,” Varnava, a doctoral candidate in physics at Rutgers University, says of his would-be date. “It’s one of those small things that contributes to a person’s whole personality.”
Coffee Meets Bagel is just one of many dating apps now siphoning private data in hopes of successfully linking like-minded singles.
Bumble and Tinder recently started providing peeks at Spotify playilsts, too. An app called Hinge extracts Facebook data to suggest potential love matches based on mutual friends and has become a popular way to gather deep intel on people before an introductory message is exchanged. Even the body itself isn’t off-limits: The app Once tracks users’ heartbeats through their Fitbits — to create a record of which profiles get their pulses racing.
Although singles like Varnava say that algorithmic enhancements help paint a more truthful picture of romantic prospects, some dating experts caution that data crunching can spoil the joy of real-life discovery and connection.
‘We’re supposed to take time to get to know people. Using all this data can be an information overload.’
“We’re supposed to take time to get to know people,” says Hunt Ethridge, a relationship coach based in Jersey City, NJ. “Using all this data can be an information overload.”
Data enhancements seem to be making singles pickier, he adds — and spurring them to narrow the playing field prematurely.
“Most of this data is completely irrelevant,” he says. “It’s creating more reason to brush people off in the search for the ‘perfect’ one, because you can find people so easily. It disqualifies you from a whole bunch of people you might be interested in if you had met them in person.”
This wasn’t the case for newly engaged couple Natalie Joselson and Yoav Yetinson. They met on Happn, an app launched in 2014 that uses GPS tracking to connect users based on the real-life locations they’ve both recently visited.
For Joselson and Yetinson, who now live in Midtown East, the shared location was Baruch College in Manhattan, where they were both enrolled for classes — Joselson in corporate communications and Yetinson in computer-information systems.
“We crossed paths about nine times,” Joselson, 27, says of their frequent near-encounters in October 2014, to which they were alerted through the app.
Joselson and Yetinson say they both would have felt “creepy” and stalkerlike introducing themselves to one another in real life. Joselson says the app broke that taboo, allowing them to message each other and simply “point to the numbers” concerning their repeat proximity.
“It makes you feel like it’s meant to happen — like destiny, but using technology,” Yetinson, 30, says of the app. “It made it more personal, knowing you were in that place with that person, rather than swiping according to a picture.”
The two say they are planning to tie the knot soon.
Other Happn users like to limit their movements, sticking to preferred zones and waiting for romantic prospects to pass through.
Ciarán Quealey, a 26-year-old construction worker who isn’t looking to settle down right now, refuses to open the app above 26th Street in fear of connecting with women he sees as too relationship-minded.
“They’re looking for something serious,” Quealey says of uptown singles.
Although he makes an exception for women in his Murray Hill neighborhood, where the dating scene is more casual, he’s also been known to connect with other Happn users on the Lower East Side and in Brooklyn.
Rosanna Magarelli, 56, has seen apps like this work for her daughter, who met her husband on Hinge. But the divorced Flatiron District-based singer is reluctant to sign up herself, calling the extraction of personal data “creepy, invasive and anti-relationship.”
Magarelli, who recently enlisted a professional matchmaker to find love, is trusting her instincts to trump the information stream.
“I just want to look someone in the eye and get to know them,” Magarelli says. “That might sound square, but it’s hip to me.”
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