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The lonely hearts of the world have done very well out of the shift.
As early as 2010 the internet had overtaken churches, neighbourhoods, classrooms and offices as a setting in which Americans might meet a partner of the opposite sex.
In 2013 Tinder, a startup, introduced the masterfully simple idea of showing people potential partners and having them simply swipe right for “yes” and left for “no”; when two people swiped right on each other’s pictures they were put into contact with each other. Such phone-based services are more immediate, more personal and more public than their keyboard-based predecessors.
More immediate because instead of being used to plan future encounters, or to chat at a distance, they can be used on the fly to find someone right here, right now.
Once confined to particular times and places, dating can extend everywhere and anywhere.
Not all countries and classes are adopting online dating at the same rate or in the same way.
Last year saw a rare Indian tech-sector IPO when raised 500 crore rupees ($70m) to help it target the marriage market.