Everywhere You Go
The share-all generation loves broadcasting everything. And now, that includes where they are. The moment they hit a pub, a mall, a multiplex, a café, they reach for their mobile devices and tell the world about it, down to precise latitudes and longitudes. It started with Google Latitude, more than a year ago. With GPS becoming almost standard in smart phones, services like Foursquare came up, making it even easier to mark your presence. And with Facebook launching Places and Twitter adding Location, the trend is ready for the big time. Services are being built around the location feature for geo-targeted ads, tracking friends in the neighbourhood, driving loyalty to commercial outlets and so on.
The old trick of groups of friends coming together to buy groceries wholesale, saving money for everyone, has now moved online. You don’t even need to know your fellow shoppers to drive a good bargain for everyone. Meals, services, lifestyle products, consumer goods, cruises, classes, whatever; chances are you can get a good deal via a group shopping site. Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com started the trend in the West; now it’s spreading in India, with mydala.com , dealsandyou.com , snapdeal.in and others. Groupon’s valuation reached a dizzying billion dollars, and stories of Google attempting to buy it out in early December only made it more valuable. Who else? Two words: Facebook Deals. When Facebook jumps on to a bandwagon, there’s a pretty good chance it’s going somewhere.
Content providers aren’t just doing Web sites viewed via browsers on computers. After all, increasingly, people are ‘consuming’ Internet content via smartphones or tablets rather than computers. So now, content is packaged via applications (‘apps’ for short) that are at their most basic level, customise the site to the screen size of devices like phones or tablets, and at the better end of the scale, package content exclusively for these handheld devices, even bypassing Web sites completely. So you have a whole new — and thriving — apps ecosystem, and can expect advertisers, marketers and service providers joining content providers in the race to your palmtop.
(This story appears in the 31 December, 2010 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)