That’s the headline of my newest story, an A-hed out yesterday.
Google researchers in Silicon Valley were trying to figure out why so many smartphones were freezing up half a world away. One in three smartphone users in India run out of space on their phones daily.
The answer? Two words. “Good Morning!”
The glitch, Google discovered, was an overabundance of sun-dappled flowers, adorable toddlers, birds and sunsets sent along with a cheery message.
Millions of Indians are getting online for the first time—and they are filling up the internet. Many like nothing better than to begin the day by sending greetings from their phones. Starting before sunrise and reaching a crescendo before 8 a.m., internet newbies post millions of good-morning images to friends, family and strangers.
All that good cheer is driving a 10-fold increase in the number of Google searches for “Good Morning images” over the past five years. Pinterest, the San Francisco visual-search platform, added a new section to display images with quotes. It saw a ninefold increase over the past year in the number of people in India downloading such pictures.
Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service—which has 200 million monthly active users in India, making the country its biggest market—added a status message last year so users could say good morning to all of their contacts at once.
The story, which is on the front page of Tuesdays print WSJ, seems to have touched a nerve. It’s been widely shared online, and has been among the most popular stories on WSJ.com since it was published.
- Google, India and Next Billion Users Follow up: More Data
- Newley’s Notes 119: Morning Message Overload; Our Greece Trip; Wookies Channel Pee-Wee
- A Browser You’ve Never Heard of Is Dethroning Google in Asia
- By Me Yesterday: Google, India, and the Future of the Web
- By Me and a Colleague: Facebook’s Internet.org Iniative Faces Pushback