OK, no, this is everything that's wrong with Silicon Valley. The latest start-up to get a puzzling amount of funding is the Yo app, which raised $1 million from investors and...sends the word yo. Yup. Just "Yo." This is basically like Facebook taking the Poke feature, changing the word "Poked" to "Yo," and then getting cash — just for the poking thing — to the tune of $1 million.
Seriously, if you thought texting was a mildly vague and occasionally obnoxious method of communication before, you're just gonna love Yo. This is the greatest communication tool ever invented for old hookups that don't know how to say they're (maybe) down to hook up again. Now they can just send the word "Yo" to you, and you can guess what they mean by it!
The app reportedly took eight hours to design, which seems like a high estimate. Or Arbel, the app's creator, rejects that the app is just about yo, even though the app's website is literally justyo.co, according to a note he sent to Fast Company.
Yo is real, but if you think it's just an app that says Yo, you're seeing it the wrong way. For example, if you send a Yo to WORLDCUP, you will get a Yo From WORLDCUP every time there is a goal. No more lengthy push notifications, just Yo. It really helps cut through the noise.
A Medium site operated by the company uses as its tagline, "zero characters communication." Take that, Twitter! So bloated with your 140 characters, and your sorta-kinda means of providing context.
But still, incredibly, Yo has users. Some 50,000 (probably a lot more after all the attention it received on Wednesday), according to The Financial Times, one of the first to write up the wild offering. Apparently it's all taking up so much time that last week Arbel packed his bags and moved from Israel to San Francisco, the belly of the beast, to develop the app. According to Medium, Yo's looking for an Android engineer and a back-end engineer to help it continue spreading the yo near and far.
If you're looking for someone to blame (or thank) for the proliferation of this scourge, you can try techie Robert Scoble, who trumped up the app on his popular Facebook page and helped make it popular, according to the FT. He now continues to talk about it on his page, while admitting it is "the lamest app ever."
There are some hidden features, including fun "Easter eggs" and group yos, that Arbel has since added into the app, according to a discussion on Product Hunt. But you'll have to be in the know to find them.
Arbel told Think Progress that yo is so, so much more than yo, depending on who's using it and why.
You usually understand what the Yo means based on who you get it from and when you get it. ...The way it affects your life is profound.