How Data and AI Saved the Internet (and Mornings) in India

Man checking morning text messages from mom, Delia, Todd

Remember when your parents joined Facebook? You suddenly got a million notifications, because your mother was looking through – and liking – ALL your photos. And, when either parent would comment on a post, they would sign it, “Love, Mom”.

Oh, the horror!

Currently in India, something similar is happening. Except not with Facebook. Now that India is online, millions of new internet users are using SMS and WhatsApp to send “good morning” messages – complete with sizeable images and GIFs – to their friends and family. Beyond annoying the younger, tech savvy generation, the phenomenon is clogging up the interwebs over there.

But no one knew that these messages were the problem at first. Here’s how this cyber mystery unfolded …

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal,One in three smartphone users in India run out of space on their phones daily.”

Google was a bit perplexed as to why this was happening, so they turned to data for the answer. By looking through their search history and usage data, they were able to pinpoint the problem: The bandwidth in India was being used up in the morning by those good morning messages that people were so lovingly sending to each other.

There are three major issues exacerbating this bandwidth problem:

The phenomenon has resulted in a tenfold increase in the number of searches for “good morning images” – and the resulting slowdown in internet traffic for the subcontinent.

How AI Solved the Problem

What do you do when you need to solve a bandwidth issue while still encouraging users to search and download images? You create an app that helps your users solve their storage problem.

Files Go uses artificial intelligence (AI) to locate a user’s good morning images and highlight them for deletion. According to Google, “More than 10 million people have installed it and cleaned up more than 1.1 gigabytes of space on average.”

How Smart Marketers Have Responded to the Good Morning Phenomenon

Some savvy tech companies have clearly been paying attention – and have responded with their own solutions.

WhatsApp, which has 200 million monthly active users in India, created a Good Morning status message that gives users the ability to say “Good Morning” to all of their contacts at once.

Pinterest added a new quote and images section that, according to a report in Newsweek, has seen a ninefold increase over the past year of people in India downloading content.

Even smaller entrepreneurs are getting in on the action. For example, the website gets thousands of downloads each morning from Indians looking for the perfect messages to send to friends and family.

It just goes to show how data can uncover insights into problems that seem uncanny – problems you didn’t even know needed to be solved. It’s also a great example of how important it is to pay attention to your users.

Leveraging data and artificial intelligence, Google was able to offer a solution that its users responded to – overwhelmingly – by both downloading the new app and cheering. According to the article in the Wall Street Journal, when Google unveiled the app in New Delhi, “The morning-message deleting function prompted the crowd of media and government officials to break out in applause.”