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Valentine’s Day was approaching, and this city of more than eight million people was feeling oddly lonely.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.But its innovation is that women have to be the ones to message first.This is meant to prevent them from being bombarded with gross messages from guys.Download Coffee Meets Bagel (i OS, Android) Ok Cupid uses a comprehensive profile and a series of questions to determine what "percentage" you'll match with someone.But on its app, the interface functions much like Tinder, letting you swipe yes/no to people around you. New research from the Pew Research Center shows that in the past two years, the percentage of US adults who had used a dating app tripled.

Download Zoosk (i OS, Android) Match was one of the original online matchmaking services, and bills itself as having made the most dates, relationships, and marriages.It's more explicitly focused on just hooking up than most dating apps, though it has the option to "get date" or "get down." Download Down (i OS, Android) Tinder was the app that set off the dating app craze.Its iconic interface lets you swipe yes/no on a series of potential dates.But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?