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Soul2Match facial analysis matchmakingNewly launched dating site Soul2Match uses a computer program to calculate the odds of people being soulmates based on their facial features.

Soul2Match match faces, or really what’s behind the faces. Specifically, people’s characteristics and emotions. Soul2Match analyses a thousand facial features and translates those to personality characteristics. The analysis is based on scientific research and software similar to that used in major security systems.

This is the kind of stuff that makes me want to get up in the morning. We’re talking real innovation, raising the bar, taking online dating to the next level, doing great big things and changing the game. Its been a long time since I said that about the online dating industry, today is a good day!

Soul2Match is all about simplicity, and giving us back some of the five hours we spend on dating sites every week (more, less?) Upon joining, members upload a photo and start clicking on other people’s photos to get an instant compatibility rating. Effective or not, this is a whole lot easier than eHarmony’s test or OKCupid’s questions. Click a few faces and email the highest rated, and we’re done.

Soul2Match makes its money by charging a fee to connect two members when a match is found. Everything else on the site is free. This is not a great model unless they place ads on the site. Originally the site had people register then it would find matches for them automagically. This required an enormous database and a lot of computing for a one-time user that might not necessarily end up paying for an introduction.

The site clearly needs to be updated and refreshed for the US market. Its ok but a bit rough around the edges.

I reached out to Dan Hill at Sensory Logic. Dan is an expert on the topic of facial coding. Sensory Logic is a scientific market research firm that specializes in quantifying emotional response through facial coding tools. Facial coding (fascinating!) provides a completely non-invasive, Internet-compatible way to gauge emotional response through a test subject’s facial muscle activity, known as action units (AUs), including quick, subtle activity known as “micro expressions.”

Dan had this to say about Soul2Soul:

1) I’ve read about valid studies on body scent/sweat and how it does track well on compatibility/preferences. But that’s SMELL, not visual.

2) By sight, hard to say you know who resembles “close genetic” counterpart. I’m not aware of info on that.

3) Yes, a part of the brain reads other people’s faces and is on the order of 6-x more sensitive than the part of the brain that reads objects. Makes sense: friend/foe is more vital to survival than flower/tree, etc.

4) One picture!? Yikes. Hardly enough to fully judge/gauge another person, typically, though yes even one photo can begin to provide clues. And it does track amazingly well to who will win a political race between 2 rivals.

5) Physical resemblance as a key to staying happily married? Well, slight differences in personality/background, etc., tend to do better than vast differences over time, which start out interesting but raise problems. Many variables beyond looks, however, to track those things.

As for the premise behind matching people based on facial coding increasing the chances of a successful long-term relationship? The jury is still out in my opinion. There is research, but academia is not the brutal messy world of online dating.

At this point in time, I really don’t care if it works or not. If the founders are smart they will iterate and improve the service over time. If not, well this is a big deal anyway. A whole new way to measure compatibility.

It would be incredibly cool to run the Soul2Match algorithm against SocialEyes live video. Could make tolerating online speed dating a lot easier.

Soul2Match facial comparison

The company has raised funding from an European investor.

Soul2Match will make the flirting application available for cell phones, allowing people to take someone’s picture and immediately find their compatibility. When meeting someone at a bar, one can immediately find out whether a match is likely and avoid being turned down later. At the same time, they already have an interesting conversation starter. “Hey can I take your photo I want to see if we should hook up.”

Interested? Try the Soul2soul demo and watch the video below.