Washington, DC (written by Sharon Jayson/USA Today) -- Everybody knows "cute couples" who look like they belong together. Sometimes they look so much alike, people do a double take.
Researchers studying the role of facial features in mating choices have used computer-manipulated faces to study attraction, and found that when someone has features similar to yours, the similarity inspires trust, says Tony Little, a research fellow in psychology at the University of Stirling, Scotland.
Such look-alike partnering happens all the time, but some who believe facial similarities are a head start to a good relationship aren't leaving it to chance. A new dating website that uses facial recognition to suggest pairings based on shared facial characteristics is giving Cupid a hand.
"In the beginning, it's the face," says Christina Bloom, of New York, founder of Find Your FaceMate, whose official launch is July 10.
"You have the potential to be a great match," says Bloom, who explains some celebrity pairings on her site. She adds that she was part of a look-alike couple that got second looks.
"But there are other things at play. Do you have the same values? It doesn't mean it's going to be a successful relationship," she says.
Making the site's pairings possible is Face.com, an Israeli company that on Monday announced that it has been acquired by the popular social network Facebook.
A statement released by Facebook, based in Menlo Park, Calif., says "this transaction simply brings a world-class team and a long-time technology vendor in house." Facebook has been using Face.com technology for almost two years in Facebook's tag suggestion tool, which allows users to "tag" or identify their friends in photos.
Ashley Zandy, a Facebook spokeswoman, on Wednesday declined further comment about the statement, citing the pending transaction.
"The core technology is comparing faces and figuring out whether it's the same person or not," Face.com CEO Gil Hirsch of Tel Aviv told USA TODAY in an interview last month. "We're looking at 63 different points of interest on the face."
Face.com's software scans photos to examine various facial features and compare them with other faces to try to make a positive identification. Facebook uses the Face.com software to identify specific individuals in photos, while the dating site uses the software to find people with similar features as potential dates.
Hirsch says on his blog that Face.com's current arrangements with Find Your FaceMate and the 45,000 developers who use his company's technology will continue.