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As the web becomes more and more ubiquitous in everyday life, the number of sites which have cropped up to bridge the gap between offline experiences and online experiences has grown substantially. It is no longer a ‘geeky’ thing to meet and make friends people in real life that you’ve only met in online communities.
As such this collection of start-ups show that we are all becoming more comfortable with the trend, and the web can provide not only services that exist solely online but real life experiences as well.
A UK specific start-up – Housebites turns the concept of takeaway food on its head, offering a ‘rent a chef’ right to your door. Gourmet food is prepared in your home, by professional chefs sourced directly by Housebites. They offer the ease of the takeaway, with the quality of a restaurant meal and with more and more people becoming health conscious, Housebites are capitalising on convenience without sacrificing well-being.
Finding the most interesting things to see and do around a new city can prove tricky for all but the most seasoned of travellers.
Gidsy touts itself as a ‘marketplace for authentic experiences’ and its users can signup to either provide experiences in their city of choice, or simply shop for experiences they’d like to undertake. Considering that everyone of us has explored alternative activities in our home town or city, this has given Gidsy the edge over traditional tours that you’d find if you simply turned up at the tourist information centre and asked to see the sites.
There’s a certain bohemian feel to exploring new places via a personalised tour from other locals, which is why its such an innovative concept.
Task Rabbit recognises that all of us are leading exceedingly busy lives, and yet there are people close to us that can often alleviate the problem. Combined with the internet, Task Rabbit underneath it all is essentially a crowdsourcing platform for your life – sourcing the people around you to make your life easier.
As with any people based service, there are managed risks – where TaskRabbit allows you to rate the services provided by its users.
With everything from finding people to do your grocery shop, to finding car mechanics, Task Rabbit has your chores covered. Although only available in the U.S at present, you can be sure that we’ll see European emulation of the concept before long.
If you are a foodie who loves meeting new people in San Francisco, and now New York GrubwithUs is the perfect service for you. Their ‘About Us‘ video highlights just how ‘online’ our lives has become, and encourages us to join ‘The Real Life’ revolution. The online part of the service simply facilitates the joining together of likeminded people and making new friends around the shared love of food.
Users pay by the seat, and you could find yourself dining with large groups of new people who share your tastes and interests.
Again, although its specific to localised areas – we rely on websites such as this to forge the path and prove the concept. Already others have followed suit Grubly, Guestaurant , DuckDuckDish and others are showing that right now – Food based experiences are hotter than ever.
AirBnb is another offline experience service which offers freedom from traditional travel accommodation. Instead of booking a hotel, AirBnb users can rent short term from members of the public.
The service started in San Francisco, has since branched out to Europe last year, and offers both travelling on the cheap, and disruption from the traditional rental in hotels or motels in foreign countries.
Pricing and experience are two of the main reasons for its success, and arguable their business model and concept gave rise to many of the other services listed here.
UberLife – http://uberlife.com/ – A mobile application designed to encourage more frequent, real-world hanging out with your network and new likeminded people around you.
Getaround – http://www.getaround.com/ – Peer to Peer car sharing
Vayable – http://www.vayable.com/ – Similar to Gidsy Vayable provides fun things to do provided by great people in the community.
Guidehop – http://guidehop.com/ – A marketplace for local activities and tours.
Overall, the trend of the internet solving offline problems is only likely to continue, and as these types of services become commonplace we’ll find the lines between online and offline interaction blurring.