A dating app... for dogs?
Swipe this way for the latest technology in canine companionship.
At this exact moment in time, Gary Feurstein is on vacation in the south of France. By his side is his ever-loyal companion, a honey-coated Bichon Frisé named Gribouille.
That sounds great for Feurstein. Lying by the beach in an exotic locale with man's best friend nearby. it can't get more idyllic than that. But what about Gribouille? Sure, Gary's a nice guy to hang out with. But after a while she'll be in the mood for some canine companionship. And thanks to a new app, finding a doggy playmate in the south of France – or just about anywhere – is as easy as a swipe of the finger.
Feurstein shouldn't mind too much if Gribouille ditches him for a nice Poodle with a penchant for playfulness. After all, it was he who invented the Playdate app.
When he's not vacationing in France, the Belgium native is based out of Israel where he's a tech consultant by day and dog date mastermind by night. He created the app about a year ago when he noticed people in his Tel Aviv neighborhood coming home from work in the evening and calling around searching for dog meetups.
It's a common scenario we all face: Your dog is home alone and waiting with bated breath for your return. Reuniting with their owner is likely the single greatest pleasure a dog has each day.
But a close second would be meeting up with other dogs for a good romp. That's where Playdate comes in. Using geo-location technology the app shows you a map of other users in your area. If you like a dog simply swipe your finger in one direction and – voila! – you'll be setting up puppy playdates in no time.
The app is the latest in a burgeoning line of similar tools for dog owners: BarkBuddy, Tindog and Sniffr just to name a few. But Feuerstein says his is actually a social media app disguised as a pet product: "I'm using the dog as an excuse for people to meet," he tells From The Grapevine. "It's the perfect ice-breaker, it's the perfect way to start a conversation and get something going. I'm using the dog as a common vector for people to meet. It's a social app with an underlying dating twist to it."
To that end, Playdate offers a chat feature and a newsfeed where owners can post pictures.
"I'm always looking for something less formal than a dog park," Meredith Blumoff, a small business owner in Atlanta, told From The Grapevine. The mom of two mutts says she's used similar services in the past. "The other apps I've used are cumbersome and require users who are super dedicated to using the app. PlayDate looks simple, easy to use and has a cute interface – which we all know is more important than it should be."
Last month, Feurstein was in Los Angeles to showcase the app at a tech conference there. "It was a success," he says. "The feedback from people was amazing." He's already incorporating some of the ideas he received into an updated version of the app which will be available soon.
Meanwhile, back in the south of France, inquiring minds wants to know: Did Gribouille find friendship? "Oh yeah," Feurstein says, "she's got a lot of options."
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