Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: Yo

Screenshot of yo on the iPhone It’s been a couple of weeks since Yo was released. I suppose you could call it an instant messaging app, except that you can only send one message – a simple ‘Yo’. Nothing else.

The interface is very simple, with big blocks of colour to tap on. You can also swipe left and right for additional options. People you have recently sent a ‘Yo’ to, or received a ‘Yo’ from, are listed front and centre, followed by a link to find friends using your contacts list. The red circle at the bottom lets you access settings, and keeps track of the number of ‘Yo’s you have received.

And that’s basically it – it’s instant messaging pared down to be as simple as possible, and then a bit further. So why would you use it, when you can’t actually send a message to other people?

Well, people do, and it’s reckoned that millions are using it already. Perhaps because it takes the thinking out of sending a quick message to someone – you can just send them a quick ‘Yo’ to get their attention. If I could convince Christine to install it, then I could send her a quick Yo to say that I’m thinking about her – having looked through our text message conversations, a lot are simply emoji hearts.

And there’s an API. You can add ‘WORLDCUP’ to your friend list and get a Yo every time a goal is scored, for example – however, because you can’t send anything more than ‘Yo’ in the message, you won’t know which team scored it, who the goalscorer was, or what the score is now. Or add ‘ALEXHERNPOST’ to get a Yo whenever Guardian journalist Alex Hern posts a new article. His short review of Yo is here. And yesterday IFTTT added it as a channel, so I can do this:

I can’t really see myself using Yo much in the future, especially as none of my friends seem to be sad enough to use it. And its recent $1million venture capital investment is baffling. But I am intrigued to see what people get up to with it.

Yo is free, and available on iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

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