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.

Yo.

Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm (the old one), and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.

71 Comments
  • 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 hilarious
  • LOL, am I the only one around here who found this insanely hilarious? Posted via Android Central App
  • +1 Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App
  • DotCom Bubble Bust 2 in 5...4...3...
  • It's been a good while since we've had a decent bubble.
  • 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
  • I hate everything about it.
  • Still better than Secret.
  • Yo... I hear ya ;)
  • So... it's a facebook poke?
  • Uh-oh! Incoming Facebook lawsuit in 3... 2... 1...
  • 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? Posted via Android Central App
  • Here's an interesting read on Yo http://www.digitopoly.org/2014/06/19/the-informational-content-of-a-yo/
  • Personally I can't wait for the sister app "Sup?", it should really bring the power of this full circle. Posted via Android Central App
  • Now that will truly be cringe worthy Posted via Android Central App
  • BRB, I'll go code it...
  • Annnnnnnnnnnndddd. You're done. That was easy.
    *Hands over piles of cash*
  • You, sir, are a genius. I laughed and laughed and laughed.
  • Yo Posted via Android Central App
  • LOL it took way too long for this comment to happen
  • 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.
  • Flappy Bird also swept the globe.
  • 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.
  • Second. 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) Posted via Android Central App
  • @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. Posted via Android Central App
  • @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.
  • No, some things are just stupid. Simple as that. People, world is coming to a end. Posted via Android Central App
  • I find people who appeal to the popularity of anything as a merit of value disturbing. And dangerous. Posted via Android Central App
  • @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.
  • Just stop it. Posted via Android Central App
  • Um.. no.
  • 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? Posted via Android Central App
  • Yo dawg, I heard you like saying "Yo" so I added a personalized Yo to your smartphone store. Posted via Android Central App
  • FWIW, the app reviews in the play store are quite entertaining.
  • Good idea. I will go read them right now.
  • Yo...
  • 'sup?
  • .... Yet Hodor even made the Apps of the Week feature, and that one costs $0.99..... Posted via Android Central App
  • Hodor is funny, and topical.
  • Oy! (as in "oy vey")
  • Yo
  • 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.
  • YODOR! Yodor Yodor, YODOR! Posted via Android Central App
  • The comment section is amazing Sent from Rooted Galaxy S4
  • HODOR
  • HOLO YO! Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App
  • Wow, the stupidity of the world knows no bounds. lol
  • Yo... Sup? Posted via Android Central App
  • 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? Posted via Android Central App
  • Betcha Kevin has it.
  • And "the Bobs" Posted via Android Central App
  • 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. Posted via Android Central App
  • Yo. 2 apps called yo already yo!
  • 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. Posted via Android Central App
  • Those reviews are some of the best stuff I've read in a long time Posted via Android Central App
  • 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. Posted via Android Central App
  • Derek used the word 'shit' - wow. Posted via Android Central App
  • This. Posted via Android Central App
  • I had to download this after reading the trash talking in the review Posted via Android Central App
  • i refuse to download... but the reviews crack my ass up.
    as well as this seemingly serious review by TechCrunch
    its like everyone on the internet is all in on the same joke
    http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/18/yo-yo/
  • YO! Check out the Dude! app, with this trend it is going to be the next BIG thing! https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...
  • 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
  • There is an awesome android app that can help you make missed calls. It is called 'Missed Call Widget' and you can find it at:
    https://www.androidcentral.com/e?link=https2F2F...