Saturday, 2 June 2012

10 Ways Internet Will Change Your Life In 2012

The Internet, the one thing that has the answers to everything, the one thing that is always there when you need it, has been changing our lives in ways we don't even seem to notice.Your parents probably never knew what Facebook was or did not have internet when they were your age, yet Facebook is almost like a second home for you now and you do not put much thought into how it has changed your life, for better or for worse.The internet keeps evolving just like everything else and believe me, it can only get better from here and hence influence your life more and more.I have put together a few ways by which the internet will influence your life(or already has) in 2012, these changes may not always be drastic, but surely, in time you will notice them and learn to embrace them.

Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act were passed this year, trying to put an end to online copyright infringements and intellectual property thefts.If you are a tech-savvy person like me, you would have realized the effect and magnitude of these two acts.The acts allowed the shut down of blogs, websites, online tools that infringed a copyright even in a small way.If a single webpage or a blog post did something wrong, the whole domain was liable to be taken down.This did not go down well with the internet folk.

On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia, Reddit, and an estimated 7,000 other smaller websites coordinated a service blackout, to raise awareness. - Wikipedia, you can read more about it here - SOPA PIPA

If you did not feel this earthquake spreading through the web, then you must have been living under a rock.With many popular sharing sites blocked, the same freedom of speech and freedom to innovate has gone missing.

2)Internet Censorship In India -
The Government of India has taken several measures to make sure they can control whats being done and said on the internet, they have asked several social sites such as Facebook, Orkut, Google+ to monitor and censor what was being said on the Internet, they have asked several major search engines to not index culpable and controversial material, they have asked Google to separate blogger blogs into country specific domains so that any "unacceptable" material on the blogs can be easily blocked in a specific country(India, in this case).Several Internet Service Providers have blocked websites such as Piratebay and Megaupload in India, on orders from the government.

Read - Kapil Sibal's Impractical Demand

A group called Anonymous has launched several attacks starting from a couple of weeks back on major Indian Government websites, defacing them and DDosing them.They have revealed that these are just the initial warnings and that even larger consequences are to be faced by the Government if the freedom is not given back to the internet users.The Goverment of India is yet to respond to this.These conflicts will surely change the face of internet in India in 2012.

Moving away from the topic of curbing of internet freedom, we have a new concept of a Social Network, Pinterest.If you visited Facebook in its early days and felt that it was a waste of time, I bet you are laughing at yourself right now as you probably spend an hour or two on Facebook each day.Pinterest might just be that kind of a website.

Although Pinterest has been around even before 2012, it has gained in popularity only in the last couple of months and is set to hit its peak number of users progressing through to the end of 2012.You can already see the "PinIt" buttons in all major websites showing that they believe that Pinterest is a useful network.

You might just find yourself spending a lot of time on this website, come the end of the year.

4)Google And Bing Social Search Integration
Before when you typed in "Best Mobile Phone" in Google or Bing Search, you would have got the most relevant article that matched your keyword, but now the search engines have evolved to give specific and user based search results.The search engines will display the articles and web-pages that your Friends have shared or +1'd.

This will give more distinctive search results and results which may be more to your liking.You can also discover what your friends like and make a decision based on that.Search is evolving and becoming more Social, become a part of and enhance the internet to make it one big Social Network.

Read -

5)Google Plus Local - Finding New Places Based on User Recommendations
Similar to the Social Integration, Google just released a new feature to its Google Places, called Google Plus Local.Whenever you search for a restaurant or a pub or any shop/service near your place, you can see the reviews given by people in your social network.Google will alter its search results based on these reviews.

If you review a restaurant, your friends will be able to see it when they search for it and make an advised decision on whether to visit the restaurant or not, based on the review of a friend.This can save you a lot of time and money, not wasting on places or services that are not worth your time.

If you are a business owner, then you will probably work towards getting more good reviews for your business on Google Plus Local.Google is seemingly looking to make our life easier.This will definitely change your life.

6)WikiLeaks - A profound effect and helping and unveil the truth.
We have all heard of the Julian Assange case, where he has put his own freedom and life at risk and made a non-profit organization to release the truth of many covered up cases and events, especially by the USA.The WikiLeaks phenomenon has hit us all and made us realize that the world in not a perfect place, we saw the videos of USA soldiers in Iraq, we saw some gruesome images from Guantanamo Bay and also from Sri Lanka.The WikiLeaks phenomenon has been one of the biggest ways by which our lives and our thinking has been altered.Not much else needs to be said.

7)The .Co Domain
For long you have probably been used to putting a .com at the end of pretty much every website, but 2012 saw a new domain, the .co, a domain that is waiting classification as a Top Level Domain.You may soon start seeing .co domains in your Google search results pages and you may have to start putting a .co, rather than the usual .com at the end of website addresses.This shouldn't really affect the Average Joe, but it will definitely affect the millions of Tech-Savvy Internet folks as well the hundreds of thousands of webmasters and major businesses.

8)Mobile Advertising
Business Insider Says - 2012 Will Finally Be The Year Mobile Advertising Really Take Off.This is something that will affect every mobile and tablet internet user.You start seeing more and more ads designed for the mobile space.As a internet surfer, you may notice that you are bothered by unnecessary ads, as usually the start of something new is always over exploited, this may drastically undermine your mobile browsing experience.You may even feel sick of it, but not to fret, all the major reputed websites will most surely not use these kinds of ad tactics and hence ensure that you enjoy a seamless internet experience on your mobile.

9)Increase in Credit Card Scams - Online Privacy Deprivation
If you thought 2011 was a bad year in terms on online credit card scams and rip offs, 2012 will be even worse.With new hacking and phishing techniques that have come into play, more and more people are falling to prey to online scams due to which they are losing money, hard earned money.

We already saw that one of the safest websites to use your credit card, The Microsoft Store was hacked and the credit card information of thousands of customers were stolen due to which a lot of money has been lost.Microsoft had even sent out an advisory for its customers to contact their credit card service to take precautions against unauthorized usage of their credit cards.

With better hackers and newer techniques, such instances may become a common place in the online world.

10)Increase in Online Purchases - India
Staying on the topic of online purchasing, India has been one of those traditional countries which is afraid to purchase online (for good reason, as we have seen above) but the convenience of online purchasing has become irresistible to the Indians, more and more Indians are logging on to e-commerce sites such as Flipkart, Jabong, Amazon, SnapDeal to make purchases by just sitting at home.

Read - Why Fliphart rules online market in India?

E-Commerce will definitely change your life, you will see yourself growing with the trend and start making more and more purchases online, without ever needing to go into a store.

So we have seen how the internet is going to change our lives in 2012, it may be in a mental aspect, a physical aspect or a financial aspect, but the evolution of the internet will directly affect us.We have allowed the internet to be such a vital part of our lives, that any major change in it, will affect us directly.It is up to us to either embrace it or live in the dark.
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Gautham A S

Gautham A S is a personal tech columnist and blogging expert at TechGau.Org, one of the leading Tech, How-To and Blogging Tips blogs in the world..