THEAGE.COM.AU - Feb 12 - A 2010 Nielsen random survey of 2K Australians found a quarter had tried online dating, of which 16% had formed long-term relationships as a result. One technology that has dramatically altered the playing field is Grindr, the mobile app that employs GPS tracking to allow gay men to check out other users in the area (a version for straight users, Blendr, recently entered the market). Grindr is so popular that Melbourne comic Nath Valvo created a show around it for this year's Midsumma festival and sold out every performance. The comedian says he knows men who wouldn't have been able to come out if they hadn't had access to the relative safety of chat rooms and other internet tools, and it's a case that extends beyond the gay community. Online dating can provide a sense of empowerment in that it can offer people a high level of control in how they manage their interactions and self-presentation.