Near Group is a fresh approach to online dating, where conversations (not photos) lead the way. It’s clearly struck a chord in an already crowded industry of mostly websites and apps trying to match you up with the person of your dreams, or at least someone you can go on a couple dates with!It’s a speed-dating chatbot built right into the Facebook Messenger platform. The Near Group chatbot matches you with someone near you and lets you jump right into a conversation on Facebook Messenger.I happily chatted with the Minotaur about Radiohead history, information about the band’s tour, and the MP3s it offered for download.The Minotaur was popular among fans like me: 1 million people added it as a friend, and in its lifetime it sent more than 60 million messages.From ubiquitous Torchy’s Tacos, with three nearby locations?Or from El Primo, makers of what XOXCO co-founder Ben Brown calls "the best fucking tacos" — conveniently located in the company’s parking lot?
Go over to Facebook Messenger and start meeting people today.
Brown, a developer and technologist, was determined to end the staff’s daily lunchtime indecision.
In the year 2000, someone in Brown’s position might have simply Googled their options.
In recent years, the alternative has been native apps. The average person spends 80 percent of their time on mobile devices using just three apps, according to Com Score; for developers, buying new users with ads is prohibitively expensive — averaging .73 per installation, according to Ad Parlor, a social advertising company. As 2016 dawns, there’s a sense in Silicon Valley that the decades-old fantasy of a true digital assistant is due to roar back into the mainstream.
If the trend in past years has been assistants powered by voice — Siri, Alexa, Cortana — in 2016 the focus is shifting to text.