New dating twist: Have your avatars meet first

SEATTLE -- A new app brings a twist to meeting someone new -- let your avatars meet first.

The digital date could prove to be a safe introduction.

Location-based social discovery is a growing trend to find new people and businesses.

Co-founders Benjamin Liu and James Sun decided to take an anonymous angle to the idea with their Anomo app that lets you find and meet people nearby, anonymously without revealing who you really are at first.

"It's patent pending right now which is a process of taking a real profile and put an avatar in front of it and then allowing you to reveal pieces of your real self," Sun said. "A lot of people on Facebook and Foursquare -- they don't want to check in any more because they have so many friends -- even strangers that will know where they are at."

So I put it to the test on Capitol Hill, to see what I could find and if it really works.

You need Facebook account to log in -- that's how the app assumes you're a real person. After choosing my avatar, the app showed avatars of people who where nearby.

After a few minutes, I chatted with six or seven people -- three of them were from the company, a couple of them, who knows?

Anomo is only a couple of weeks old, so the universe of people using it is small but I started a chat with a user who was nearby. Unlike the all or nothing approach with sites like Facebook, I only revealed to her what I wanted her to know. We agreed to meet in 15 minutes.

After comparing how well our avatars looked to our real selves, we compared experiences.

"Well, I've only had it a couple of days so I've been trying it out mostly but I do like it," Elaine Cho said.

I then met Elaine an hour after I started texting people and revealing myself.

"I like the concept behind it," she said, "because you can choose to reveal what you want to reveal... You do have to go beyond the avatar that's been picked, their interest, their tags and how they describe themselves."

That's how a digital date begins now a days -- let the avatar do the talking first.

Anomo is free and is available on both the iTunes and Google Play app store.