Picture it, 1970s New York. You, a young gay man looking for some company. You don your shortest short-shorts, throw on a flattering t-shirt, a pair of sneakers and head to the streets to see what you can find. Your hope is that you make it to where you are going without getting hurt or worse. Then you are left to present your best image in hopes that someone will take notice and want to pick you up.
Flashing forward a couple decades and the internet has just taken off. Providers like America Online offered chat rooms where you could while away the hours talking to random guys, exchanging pics, and hoping to hook up.Your biggest concerns are whether the person has shared photos that have been altered or even them. What is worse is that you still sahad to worry about your safety.
As we move closer to our current time, the internet has grown in leaps and bounds and we are able to take our dating appetites mobile, thanks to smart devices. Now a new threat enters the scene. Your data can be stolen from the apps you use, your identity stolen and even used against you in some kind of scam. Who knew that dating would become so dangerous.
One app hopes to change all that and U2NIte seems to have a leg up on its competition.
Technology is a part of our lives and with it comes new security concerns. When we join a dating site, we are asked for our full names (if you give a real one), email address (again, if real), our location, likes/dislikes, and a picture. All of these are points of data that is used to input into algorithms that will spit out a grid of people close to you and may share common interests. From there you only have to pick and choose. Most of us dont worry about all of the data we have just entered, but we should.
Just over a year ago, popular gay dating app Manhunt suffered a data breach, thanks to a hacker. At the time, Manhunt stated that it had more than 6 million users, 11% of them were part of a breach that allowed the hacker to steal their names, passwords, and email addresses.Not only that, but it also exposed the profiles and pictures, therein. Those photos and profiles could be used for extortion of its users and there isn’t much that can be done about it. The founders of the app, U2Nite, decided to make a different kind of app, one that focused on security and user experience first.
Ivar Vage, founder of the app U2Nite, knew first hand how hard if can be for gay men to find partners in the world, since 11 countries still have death penalities for suscpicion of being gay. He wanted to create a safe space for men to meet, talk, and develop relationships.Having worked with Amnesty International, he had a unique point of view when it came to human rights. This laid the groundwork for what would become the singular premise of the app — the freedom to live, speak, believe, and be the human you are.
In 2013, Ivar’s advertising agency took on a a project to work on location based services.At the time, his company was based in Munich, Germany and worked closely with the University of Munich to develop a secure location based platform. This would be the birth of his app, U2Nite. The foundations of this app gave him the understanding of app security and the ways privacy issues impact the dating app landscape. As his team went to work on this platform, they soon realized the huge benefit it could have for gay singles looking for a safe place to find dates. And thus, the birth of U2NIte.
How it’s different
You are probably sitting there thinking how this app is so different from Grindr, Tinder, or any of the other numerous apps out there. U2Nite’s mission is to provide the LGBTQ community with the most secure social chat and dating app in the world. They utilize a variety of tools that help to deter hate speech, fraud, and harassment while making live chats between real users much easier.
What makes them different from the rest of the dating apps that swarm the various app stores is that there is no centralized server for storing user data. This means there is nothing they have that anyone can hack to steal your data and ensure your privacy. Each user is in control of how much information they share, from stats, pictures, and even your location.
U2nite uses a decentralized security model for data management, Your profile information, chat history, everything is stored on your device, not theirs. Their servers do not record or store any of your private data, with the only exception being photos. Images are stored and delivered by high speed delivery networks, every image link is ran through an anonymizer that makes it almost impossible to locate another user without access from the app.
U2Nite hosts many security features, one of the coolest is the distance blur filter. The blur filter is an important technical build-up of the app and guarantees your security. There is a map that displays your location and I know you are going to ask “how is that ensuring your security?” Well, here is how it works. When you look at a map and see someone, what you are actually seeing is what is called a cell. A cell is essentially a broad area without specific details like your address. Other users will only see a general idea of the city they are from, if you choose to share more, you are in control of that. No matter where you are, there is no way to pinpoint your exact location, thus ensuring your safety until you choose to share more.
That isn’t all that they take seriously. Every chat you have on their app is encrypted, end to end. In fact, the technology they use for encryption is the same that the European government uses for its communication. And since it is not stored on a server, it cannot be compromised. That is unless you allow someone to access your phone.
Remember that they never store any of your personal information on a database, anywhere. This ensures that you are safe at all times. You are the guardian of your information and how much you share with others.
Want to learn more about their security features then head on over to U2Nite Security to see their protection in action.
In most places, the more security you add the less features you get. This is not the case when it comes to U2Nite. Security is the core component but so is their user experience. Let’s take a look at some of the awesome features this app boasts.
World Wide Search
We all have been traveling and decided we wanted a little more “taste” of the local flavors. U2Nite makes this easier with their World WIde Search feature, gone are the days of being tied only to the area you are in or having to modify your profile to see other singles where you are.
Once you arrive where you are going, whip out your phone, open the app, and see who is single and ready to mingle. (Okay, I admit that was horrible) Once you have found someone you are interested in, simply hit the Let’s Meet (see image below) button and you are off to the races. This integrated Geo-data baked into the app reveals a system generated dating spot, a safe public spot to meet. Even better is it shows you how to get there from where you are. This unique tool is only on U2Nite.
The integrated Geo-Data in our dating app reveals instantly a “System-Generated Dating Spot”. This is a safe public place to meet, at the same time the app shows you the route on the map how to get there. This feature makes the u2nite gay dating app a unique tool when you are out traveling. This is particularly advantageous if you happen to be in a country where homosexuality is illegal or especially looked down on. It will allow you a bit of safety in trying to find people with similar interests.
The Quick Date feature mirrors off the World Wide Search feature. It is an easy and safe way to meet people, especially if you are traveling or unfamiliar with the area you are in. Again, you use the Let’s Meet button to send a meet request to the person you want to talk to. If they confirm your request, the app will automatically suggest a “safe place” to meet. Best part, the app will show the location on the map and tell you exactly how to get there.
The Quick Date feature is key to the security of the app. It used the integrated Geo-location database to pick out a public place like a cafe or restaurant so that you have a secure and safe place to meet, if you happen to be in an unfamiliar place.
Unlimited Pic Upload
We all have seen the limitations that a pay gap in our favorite app causes. Many of the features we would use on a regular basis seems left for those that want to dole out large sums of money to a company that really doesn’t value our security. U2Nite is not one of those companies. They believe that to meet someone you should not be punished by paying large sums of money.
One of their best and free features is the ability to upload as many pictures as you would like to your profile. This way you can make sure that all the hot guys can see you in your best. To be able to do something similar with a competitive app, like Grindr, you would need to upgrade to their Unlimited tier and pay $173 a year. WOW, that is truly ridiculous. Afterall, dating should be easy, fun, free, and secure.
Speaking of pay gaps limiting features, how many times have you messaged a guy only to go back and look for that special pic, phone number, or even where you are meeting and see that the app deleted it because you have a free account? No more, U2Nite allows you to keep your chat history as long as you keep the app installed on your device. Keep all of those valuable exchanges where you want them, in the palm of your hand.
No matter how many messages you receive, you will never be sent a message from U2Nite advising you that you need to pay to keep your messages. They are all free, all of the time.
Okay, this should be an easy one… it’s free so you never have to worry about registering just to just the video chat service. Video Chat is a baked-in essential to their platform and is always free, all of the time, all over the world. Watch out Zoom, you can not get just a tab bit more risque with that special someone, wherever you may find them. All in just a matter of minutes.
As if that isn’t cool enough, their security is just as much a part of the video chat as it is the rest of their app. They really care about your privacy. You only have to provide as much information as you are comfortable with and you will only appear online as long as you have the app open. Tired of chatting? No worries, close the app and you disappear from the map. Want to find someone to talk to, just open the app and click on the video chat feature and see who rings you up. Every chat you have is safe and secure from end to end. Currently, it is in a beta version with promise of more exciting features to come.
You are probably thinking that this all sounds too good to be true, guess what… it is totally true. And getting started could not be easier. If you are ready to take the plunge, grab your phone and head to your favorite app store and search for U2Nite. Android users have about 20 more days (at the time of this posting) before it is available for your device. Have no fear, they are working tirelessly to make sure you get it as soon as you can and as secure as it can be.
Once you have it downloaded, open it up and start surfing. You do not have to enter any kind of information until you are ready to do so. Best part, no pesky reminders to add your credit card or email address, total anonymity. Start searching for your active and attractive partner by clicking on the Faces view, this will show you who is online right now.
All profiles are active and verified so you don’t have to worry about inactive or fake profiles. You will only ever see active people in your map view. Every pin on the map is a session that is current and you can rest assured that it requires a real person to actually interact with their device to show up. It’s all in real time, all the time. And it’s safe since it doesn’t require you to enter any personal information to use it.
And now… the downsides
I am sure you have been waiting for me to give you some negative aspects of this too good to be true. The truth is that there aren’t many that I can find. The layout and UI is impressive for an app that does not require its users to pay anything.
The map interface has a feel similar to Google or Apple maps. Easy to navigate and understand. When you see a person that interests you, you only have to click on their pic to see their profile.
The messaging side is just as easy to use as text messages. Best part is that you do not have to worry about getting those embarrassing notifications, that everyone seems to understand, while in a meeting or chatting with friends. You are only active as long as you are online, rest of the time is quiet sailing.
The only negative that I can speak of is that there arent a lot of people on it in the United States.The app creators are from Germany and as such, it seems that there are more people online from Europe and the surrounding countries. Part of this is probably due to not being on the Android platform, yet. Also, I have not see much in the way of advertising in the U.S. for it. It is up to us to get the word out and start populating the maps with like minded people looking for newer and safer ways of dating.
Want to see more? Check out this video from them about their platform.
You know you are tired of the normal unsafe dating app, so what are you waiting for? Head on over to U2nite.com (u2nite.com) or your favorite app store and open yourself to a new world of safe dating and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it.