Before the arrival of Pokémon Go earlier this month, Tinder was ostensibly the world’s most popular app for facilitating social interaction of the kind that, more often than not, involves balls.

Perhaps in response to that dethroning, Tinder have today rolled out their new group match and chat feature, Tinder Social, across their Australian and New Zealand, North American, British and Indian markets that aims to connect groups of individuals with the shared goal of platonic friendship. It’s an interesting development for the world’s largest dating app, which in recent years has become synonymous with ‘hook-up culture’ while undoubtedly playing a part in drastically shaping the contemporary dating landscape, especially in Australia, since its launch in 2012.

In fact, Tinder Social underwent initial testing in Australia, where it apparently gained enough traction to warrant the permanent addition of a feature that helps users crowdsource like minded people for a night out. Popular events organised through the app thus far reportedly include pub crawls and group outings to concerts, though surely it’s only a matter of time before early adopters add Pokémon Go to that list.

“Tinder Social is designed to make it as easy as possible to plan your night, get out into the real world and meet new people,” Sean Rad, CEO and co-founder of Tinder, has said of the latest development.

“The new feature takes the Tinder experience to a new level, offering our users more ways to expand their social circles and interact with potential matches. We believe it’s the ultimate tool for planning your next adventure.”

To make use of the new feature, users must first opt in to unlock it within the existing app. From there, users create their group from other members who must also be signed up to the service; details of where you’re going and what you plan on doing must then be input before you’re allowed to see other social groups. Members from two groups must both ‘swipe right’ before making arrangements through a group chat feature. For added security, individual users can leave a group at any time before it expires the next day at noon. 

For now, the feature is free to use and, as always, the question of how it evolves – either for its intended purpose, or otherwise – is up to you.

Tile image: Mean Girls, duh