3 Things We Now Do Online

Published: Dec 31, 2013 06:24:56 AM IST
Updated: Dec 27, 2013 02:47:44 PM IST
3 Things We Now Do Online

1. From Likes to Love
Thanks first to the internet, and then the smartphone, people today—young or old—do not date. Instead they discover each other via social networks and then strengthen their relationships by adding each other on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Instagram and of course, Snapchat (the pinnacle of modern intimacy, in a way). Indian matrimonial websites like BharatMatrimony.com and Shaadi.com have also been gamed by youngsters who use them to find “like-minded” friends to date, even while their none-the-wiser parents are thinking they’re searching for a spouse. Then there are matchmaking websites like Floh.in which charge single members a subscription fee to find other singles. Serendipity is dead on the internet, and so is dating, at least as some of us old-timers knew it.

2. Site Seeing
We won’t be holidaying exclusively virtually any time soon, but the way we buy our travel will change completely. The travel industry was one of the quickest to embrace the internet, moving its services and transactions online. Ticketing, holiday packages, car rentals, tour guides… everything is now available online. All travel plans can be made on your couch without having to make a single phone call. Lately, lodging during holidays has witnessed a new trend: Before booking hotels tourists first look for Bed ’n’ Breakfast options or service apartments. Sites like airbnb.com aggregate the best available options—some of them half the price of a starred hotel—creating an online marketplace for such services, which frequent travellers, and those who prefer budget travel, love. It won’t be too long before corporations learn from the hard-up students and backpackers and introduce travel policies that mandate junior- to mid-level staff make their bookings via these marketplaces.
Image: Getty Images

3. Auto Matic
In more prosperous economies, car ownership, sales and driving licence ownership have reached saturation point and have, in fact, been falling for years now. “Peak Car”, as economists like to call it, has been hastened due to economic recessions, better public transport and rising fuel prices. Younger people don’t see any romanticism in driving—and certainly not the joy of the manual shift! —neither do they dig being tied down to one car for four or five years. The parallel rise of internet-enabled car rental and sharing companies like Uber, Lift, Zipcar and RelayRides (and closer home, Olacabs and TaxiForSure) have obviated the need to own a car to get around town. Come to think of it, when most of our work and shopping is done online, why bother actually going anywhere?

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(This story appears in the 10 January, 2014 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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