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.
In one recent dispatch, a toddler sporting a fedora and holding his hand over his chest says, “Our heart is the only thing in the world that works without any rest. So keep it happy, whether it is yours or your dear one’s. Good Morning.”
In another, an image of Krishna, the Hindu god of love, is paired with the words “Good Morning. Silent prayers often reach God faster, because they are not bound by the weight of words.”
“These WhatsApp messages are really my thoughts put into words,” said Mr. Sharma.
Perhaps India’s most famous morning-message enthusiast is Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He gets up at 5 a.m. to practice yoga and is known to fire off good-morning messages as the sun is rising. Last year, he admonished a group of lawmakers for not responding to his greetings.