The deluge of messages may be filling up smartphones across India which has resulted in some tech companies trying to figure solutions, and others capitalising on it.
If you have ever put WhatsApp notifications from chats on mute, chances are you’re probably Indian, and are tired of receiving ‘Good Morning’ messages every day from extended family, friends and acquaintances. You’re also not the only one.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the problem has acquired such magnitude that Google’s researchers in Silicon Valley, who were investigating why Indians’ smartphones were running out of storage quicker than anywhere else, discovered the morning greetings were gumming up phones.
The report says that the trend has sparked a rush for ‘Good Morning’ images, with searches on Google spiking tenfold over five years. Pinterest added a new section just to capitalise on the demand and some enterprising people have set up sites to cater to this market, the report says.
V.K. Ahluwalia, an 85-year-old retired IPS officer, says he’s not entirely sure how to delete such messages. But he makes sure he sends them forward.
“I get about 15-20 messages a day from my groups. I’m in the Himachal Retirees Association with around 200 people. They keep sending messages so I forward them to my family and friends,” he says.
It’s not just retirees addicted to these messages. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reportedly expressed anguish over his party’s lawmakers not responding to his morning messages on the NaMo app. As ThePrint reported, it may have backfired, with the chat now flooded with messages ranging from ‘Suprabhat’, ‘good morning to all’ and ‘happy birthday.’
Whatsapp, which has an estimated 200 million active users in India, has added a status message feature, which allows people to display messages to all contacts. But there’s no evidence to suggest it has stemmed the deluge of messages.
The tech-savvy already have solutions in place.
“I can just turn the auto downloads on WhatsApp off and continue living my life,” says 22-year-old Vaani Chopra.
Google has a better solution though, a new app called FilesGo, that uses artificial intelligence to help users delete unneeded files. The Wall Street Journal reports the announcement that the app could weed out morning messages from phones was met with applause during its launch in December 2017, and has since been downloaded the most in India.
But many Indians are still to start using it, and continue to rely on the mute button instead.
“I have put notifications off on my phone, and I don’t open many of those groups at all, it feels fake to me. I would be very interested in this app,” said Kalpana Vishwanath, CEO and co-founder of women’s safety app Safetipin.