Here I’m scribbling a few hundred words about the latest inexplicable app-based phenomenon, namely Yo, which took just eight hours to develop. It exists to serve a single purpose: to allow users to send the word “Yo” to each other. No, I am not drunk, and no, I am not making this up.
Just so we’re on the same page, here’s the app description:
Wanna say "good morning"? just Yo.
Wanna say "Baby I'm thinking about you"? - Yo.
"I've finished my meeting, come by my office" - Yo.
"Are you up?" - Yo.
The possibilities are endless.
Predictably, Yo has proven divisive, and you’ve probably already decided after these opening paragraphs whether you’re completely dismissive of the idea as techno-hippy nonsense, or if you appreciate the simplicity of it in an increasingly complex world.
On the face of it, we’re dealing with an app that replicates the rarely used “Poke” functionality of Facebook, or, in a more extreme example, it’s Whatsapp – but you can literally only say “Yo”.
But if you think Yo is just a temporary fad, think again. There are already uses for it beyond your own list of personal contacts, and yet more ideas in the pipeline.
In a topical example, users can send a “Yo” to the username “worldcup”, and in return receive a “Yo” every time a goal is scored. Similarly, you might fancy seeing a “Yo” every time your favourite blog(ger) publishes a new post.
Or, in some examples I’ve just made up this very second, you could receive a “Yo” when your taxi has arrived, when your takeaway is ready for collection, when a stock alert is triggered, as a reminder to invoice Mobot every month (which would save Emma having to compose an email reminder)… As the description says, the possibilities really are endless.
Of course being a new app, and unexpectedly garnering tons of attention, the cyber-vultures have already attempted to pick it apart, and indeed they’ve succeeded.
A Georgia tech student told TechCrunch this week: “We can get any Yo user’s phone number (I actually texted the founder, and he called me back.) We can spoof Yos from any users, and we can spam any user with as many Yos as we want. We could also send any Yo user a push notification with any text we want (though we decided not to do that.)”
However, the app’s creator, Or Arbel, reassures us: “Some of the stuff has been fixed and some we are still working on. We are taking this very seriously.”
But hey, security issues aside (ahem), we can inevitably expect to hear more about Yo in the coming months, whether it’s a case of: “Man, I can’t believe that app is still out there,” or: “Yep, told you it’d fall flat on its face.”
Thoughts? You're more than welcome to pitch in below.