Yo: The million-dollar app that does a single stupid thing

There's a new app, maybe you've heard of it, yo. No, seriously, that's the name of the app, Yo. As in, "Yo dawg." Yo does one thing, and one thing only: it sends a contact a notification of "Yo." No message attached to that, no images, no context, just "Yo from RENERITCHIE". It took eight hours to code, and yet somehow it's sweeping the globe in monosyllabic fashion, and even more inexplicably has raised a million dollars in funding to do… what? Hell if we know.

Yo's interface is absurdly simple. Big, bright, colorful buttons with your contacts' user names. Tap one, they get a Yo. That's it. Of course, they'll need to have Yo installed as well. Hell, even Yo's icon is simple: it's purple. Yo is so simple that it was initially rejected by the iOS App Store reviewer because they thought it was incomplete. Nope, turns out it's as feature complete as it could ever be.

So where does Yo go from here? That's a good question. Chances are the pure idiocy of the concept will lead to it being a flash in the pan. Yo only works if you understand the context. The message itself has no context, it's a call for attention. Some of the use cases being batted around include, say, FIFA sending you a Yo when somebody scores in a World Cup match, so you can pay attention to your TV and see the replay. Or, you know, FIFA could send you a notification through their own app that lets you know who scored, what the score is, and even tap it to open a see the replay yourself.

Yo is dumb. It's a dumb concept, it's a dumb use scenario, it's a dumb app. That it's taken on this bizarre life of its own is utterly perplexing and flummoxing. For all the great things that our smartphones do, there's so much stupid shit like this that just, I, I don't know what to say.

Yo is a cry for attention. Not from the user, and not from the developer. It's a a howl in the darkness, begging for somebody, anybody, to rescue us from this insanity.

But, should you really want to get Yo for yourself and see just what this nonsense is about, it's available for free from Google Play.



Reader comments

Yo: The million-dollar app that does a single stupid thing


Hmm, maybe there is a hidden tethering feature or emulator or something that got passed the supreme leader, Apple? Don't developers sometimes try to do that? I suppose it would have been found by now though.

LOL, am I the only one around here who found this insanely hilarious?

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Seriously. If this getting $1 million in funding isn't a sure sign we're in a bubble, I don't know what is.

Exactly. All the signs are there:

This app.
Curved screens
4k resolution on 5 inch displays.
Gimmicky faux 3D effects.
Thin, thin, thin...

It all has an air of desperation to keep the hype around smartphones rolling despite a stark lack of truly new innovations.

It also seems that phones are lasting longer before causing howls of anxiety due to reduced performance.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

Quote: " For all the great things that our smartphones do, there's so much stupid shit like this that just, I, I don't know what to say."

I about died right here. Fucking hilarious. Who is actually giving these people money for these stupid apps. It started with Flappy Birds making the guy who basically stole a bunch of other ideas and sound effects from other games, millions. Where will it end?

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Personally I can't wait for the sister app "Sup?", it should really bring the power of this full circle.

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It seems a bit dismissive to me that since you don't see the value, that it can't possibly have any. I don't see the value either, but if it's "sweeping the globe" then it would appear that a surprisingly large number of people find some value in it. Maybe our imagination isn't as expansive as what they see as it's value.

I personally really don't grok twitter. I've had an account for a while now and used it sparingly. But I just don't find it to be all that valuable. Yet hundreds of millions of people seem to love it. The fact that i don't see the value suggests that the problem is with me not with twitter.

Perhaps in time "Yo" will disappear as pointless. A short fad. But my inability to see the value in light of it's popularity should give me pause to reflect on the limitations of my imagination.

You put way too much effort into that. Do you seriously believe yourself? You compared something that sends a "yo" to an entire social network. There is no comparison on any level. Get off the drugs.


It's not necessarily that people don't see the value. Maybe they do see the value, and recognise that the value is very small. (Though apparently not monetarily so, at least in the short term)

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@fuzzylumpkin: I think you may be supporting my point. The value of this thing may be small. But even small value doesn't mean stupid or pointless. It just means small value.

Even now I can imagine my wife saying, "Send me a yo when you arrive" or my friends saying "send me a yo when you get there and I'll come meet you." Simpler than a text. Is the value of this huge? No, but not zero. Maybe you can't imagine what the value is. Or maybe it's too small of value for you. But it seems arrogant to dismiss those who do see the value or think it's valueable enough for them.

It is stupid and pointless though. Everything has some value, that doesn't mean it's worth salvaging. I honestly can't see any point in this, especially given that both parties need the app. There are dozens of apps that let me send the word "yo" and all the other words I've learned.

It's always a good thing to have ideas, that doesn't mean all ideas are good.

If this makes me arrogant, I'm OK with that.

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@Jon Adams4: Yes I'm serious. I'm not trying to compare Yo to twitter. I'm trying to use my experience with twitter as an example to explain that the world is more complex than we are capable of imagining. And perhaps we should be a little more humble.

Just because something doesn't make sense to us doesn't mean that it's senseless. It just means that we don't get it.

I find people who appeal to the popularity of anything as a merit of value disturbing. And dangerous.

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@rda1991: That's a misreading of my point. Which is this: just because you don't see the value doesn't mean it's valueless.

People find "value" in insane things. Turn on the TV for endless examples

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

@vividrich: put another way: If I don't agree with it, it's stupid and/or insane..

Go with that if you want.

What idiots threw a million dollars at this? Fine that the dev wants to release a nothing app to grab attention, it worked though I won't be contributing to it's DL count.

But a million dollars? Really?

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Yo dawg, I heard you like saying "Yo" so I added a personalized Yo to your smartphone store.

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.... Yet Hodor even made the Apps of the Week feature, and that one costs $0.99.....

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its in the 5,000-10,000 install bracket. i'm wondering how many of those are active installs though. i can't imagine people actually "keeping" this app after trying it once or twice.

I pretty sure the developer meant this as a joke app. And the reviews on Google Play are playing along too. But whoever funded this app, the jokes on them. Maybe they are predicting this on becoming some sort of social explosion.

Pet rock, Chia pet, Hodor, and my favorite "jump to conclusions mat" and now this. What the hell is going on?!

"What do you say you do here?

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How far does this rabbit hole go? Maybe we will all just stop communicating and resort to grunting noises. The devolution of mankind is upon us.

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I was on Google Play reading the user reviews for "yo". I really hope that the people talking about how "yo" has changed their life are being sarcastic. If not thats just sad yo.

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I'm creating and app called "um" for people who aren't sure about what to say. And for the foodies out there there's "mmm". Nobody better try stealing my ideas either I'm applying for patents right now.

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The inherent limitation of YO is that the recipient does not necessarily know what the "message" is intended to mean. That limitation disappears with the recipient is omniscient. Check out YoGodApp.com