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“I think people are skeptical about joining dating things.” A decade later, a somewhat savvier Zuckerberg has had a change of heart.Last week, Facebook unveiled “Graph Search,” a new search engine that will allow users to comb through data from their existing online networks.
An estimated 30 to 40 million North Americans now use online dating sites.Online dating sites offer a panacea: a soulmate whose interests, background and disposition are congruent with ours.And they share some common conceits: that similarity is good for a relationship, and that mathematical algorithms can predict compatibility.Today, online dating sites peddle a radical vision: a new future for love as we know it; a more efficient, more targeted way to meet a compatible mate. Forget about hanging out in bars, or volunteering at community functions, or awkwardly asking friends if their friends are single.Many of the biggest online sites are marketing themselves not just as places to get a date, but as a place to find a lifelong mate.But as dating-through-device becomes a primary medium for romance, it seems likely that our end goal—traditionally commitment, and often marriage—will also change.Online dating has already altered our romantic psyche—most significantly by assuring us that new options are always waiting.The problem is that the scientific jury is still out on whether similarity is, in fact, good for long-term commitment.And there’s no strong evidence that computers can predict compatibility through measurable psychological variables.On the day of the announcement, the stock price of Inter Active Corp—the parent site of online dating behemoths —dropped by more than two per cent. Over the past two decades, the Internet has become a fixture of the modern-day romance plot.In the early ’90s, just one per cent of new relationships began online.