Dating app company Bumble announced today that it is releasing a separate app called “Bumble for Friends” aimed at finding friends in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the Philippines, the U.K. and the U.S. Bumble originally launched BFF mode in the main app in 2016. With this new app, it aims to cater to people looking for platonic connections.
Last month, the company confirmed to TechCrunch that it was testing the app in some markets, including the U.K. At that time, the dating app said that BFF mode represents 15% of the main apps’ monthly active users. Now, it has officially launched the BFF app in several markets.
The app is free to download from both App Store and Google Play. However, it offers in-app purchases such as premium membership with weekly, monthly, three-month, six-month and lifetime subscription plans. The paid plan offers features such as unlimited swipes, backtracking left swipes, advanced filters, incognito mode, super swipes and boosts to get noticed better.
Users can create a profile outlining their interests and what kind of friends they are looking for. Bumble said, in the markets where the BFF app is launching, users can easily port their profile to the new app. Once the migration is over, BFF mode won’t be available to those users in the main Bumble app. But the company said that there is no plan to sunset BFF mode in the Bumble app at the moment.
People can swipe through profiles with similar interests — just like in the Bumble app — and match with other people.
A lot of people who were part of the test left reviews on the app complaining that it limits friendships to only people who identify as the same gender as the user. The company said that it is starting with “this experience in the app as we continue to evaluate further product changes, including additional ways for our members to connect with any type of friend.”
The company is also rolling out a group chat functionality to plan meetups. Users can create a group from the conversations tab with a subject line and invite two or more matches to join. The app suggests pre-written prompts for activities such as “Meet for coffee,” “Let’s grab a bite,” “Live music or a show” and “Games night.” Users can also write their customized idea for the meetup. It’s not clear how Bumble will limit the group to just planning and not general conversation.
Bumble says that its new app adheres to the same moderation and safety guidelines as the main app. It said that if someone is trying to use the BFF app for romantic purposes, users can report that kind of behavior.
The company has been trying to make the BFF mode more enjoyable for users. Last year, it started testing a “Hive” feature to form a community as part of the BFF overhaul. But the new app doesn’t seem to have this feature.
With this new app, Bumble is competing with other friend-finding apps such as livestreaming app Yubo, LMK, Wink, Wizz, Swipr and Hoop, which lets you connect with people through Snapchat.