New App to Find You a New Friend

Mobile technology takes on gamification.

By on October 11, 2013

Dating sites and apps like OKCupid have long used quizzes and mutual interests to try and match you with the love of your life. But can these same techniques be used to score beer buddies or a BFF?

Derek Dodge, the creator behind recently launched 1Mind, believes they can. 1Mind is among a growing number of mobile apps harnessing the power of gamification.

Gamification gets people to complete tasks they might otherwise find repetitive by making the interactivity fun and offering potential rewards. The term stems from video gaming and the way it encourages people to do things like topple over pigs for hours in Angry Birds.

In the case of 1Mind, friend-seekers are challenged with a photo-heavy feed of voting games: Best cuisine? What do you think about the new tablet? Did you like the “Dexter” finale?

The more questions you answer, the more accurately the algorithm can match you with your ultimate bestie.

“Social elements are key functionalities of these days’ applications,” said gamification designer Taavi Lindma. “Gamification principles help to make the whole experience fun, and you have created a great gameplay the crowd will follow. You just have to ask users what they want and give it to them.”

Successful gamification apps turn things like taking a survey or listening to a new song on your device into a more engaging and rewarding experience.

Foursquare successfully motivated users to check in to their locations in order to earn badges. And the Starbucks app displays a coffee cup that fills with stars for every drink purchased. Users are rewarded with a free beverage once they fill it.

While gamification may seem like just another tech industry buzzword du jour, analysts believe there is more of it to come. According to a report by M2 Research, the overall market for gamification tools, services and apps is projected to be $5.5 billion by 2018, with an annual growth rate of 67 percent.