So, a woman walks into a bar… Wait, scratch that. She takes out her phone. With a left swipe of her finger she dismisses Alex, 25, and Robert, 48. She swipes right when a photo of James, 24, pops up. It’s a match. James had swiped right, too. They chat, make plans to meet. They’re only 5km apart.

Welcome to the new world of dating. As the near-constant use of smartphones proliferates and as people grow more comfortable with disclosing their location, a new class of mobile dating apps is emerging that spans a range as broad as human desire itself.

Millennials say the apps save time and let users filter out undesirables, based on a few photos, words and Facebook connections. Newer apps offer a sense of immediacy and simplicity that harks back to the days of walking up to a stranger and making small talk.

The dating app of the moment for Americans is Tinder, helped by its simple interface, a host of celebrity users and a popularity boost from Olympic athletes who used it to hook up during the Winter Games in Sochi. It requires people to log in using their Facebook profiles, which users say adds a level of trust. Tinder photos are your Facebook photos.

Users can reject or accept potential mates with a left or right swipe of the finger. If both swipe right, the app flashes “It’s a match!” and the pair can exchange messages. As messages can only come from a person you have “right-swiped”, unwanted advances are filtered out. – Sapa-AP