GPS Dating: There's an App for That, but Know the Risks

Couple builds life together after meeting on a whim through their phones.

ByABC News via logo
September 3, 2010, 7:53 AM

Sept. 3, 2010— -- Following your heart to true love? That's so last century.

Today's romance-seekers need only to turn to their phone.

A growing number of singles are logging off Internet dating sites and using a GPS application to meet each other and fall in love.

The GPS helps singles locate the profiles of other singles who could be right around the corner.

Brian Gettlemen was using a GPS dating application on his cell phone while buying a cup of coffee when another GPS dater saw his profile on the same application.

"I saw him on and his smile really caught my attention," Aisha Ballie said. "He was very handsome."

"Turns out she was right downstairs, two floors beneath me" Gettlemen said," and she said 'Come say hi.'"

Whether out at the park, catching dinner with friends or browsing a farmer's market, singles can search their phones to find out who else in their immediate vicinity is looking for a love connection. If the person finds an eye-catching profile, he or she can send an instant message.

If there's mutual interest, a meeting can be arranged within minutes.

The advantage of GPS dating, Gettlemen and Ballie said, is that it doesn't take as much time as Internet dating.

But security experts warn that that potential disadvantages are considerable.

"Somebody knows your location. They just tap you on the shoulders and all of a sudden, you're having a conversation with this person," Internet safety expert Robert Siciliano said. "You don't know how they know about you."

Christian Wiklund, the founder of Skout, one of about a half-dozen GPS dating sites available to nearly 2 million people, said the site is careful to make certain that the exact street address of the person sending messages cannot be determined.

"One of the safety features we built in is that no one can figure out exactly where and when you are," he said. "The only way they can, is you have to tell them."