Yo Better Work

The original Yo app

The Yo app was much derided, but it also sparked a revolution

2014 may be the Year of the Horse according to the Chinese zodiac, but in the world of American pop culture, it’s the year of the mocked and scorned. Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun topped the US charts, those Ice Bucket Challenge videos have proved inescapable, and Yo, the app that made the tech world collectively roll its eyes, just won’t go away.

Though it started as a patently inane app devoted to the mobile equivalent of the Facebook poke, Yo has matured into a template whose very simplicity allows for legions of uses. Check out how the Yo interface – just press a button and your friends get a message reading “Yo” – is meeting every basic human need.


Your significant other is going to expect something more than just a mere “Yo”. Send a heart instead, using the <3s HeartsApp, because after all, in 2014, nothing conveys intimacy better.


Who wants to expend all that energy on Seamless when you’re dying of hunger? Push for Pizza capitalizes on Yo’s inherent laziness by ordering a delivery pizza pie with the click of a button. You can read our interview with the 19-year-olds behind the app here.


Looking for your friends? Apps like Lo and YoFrom allow users to send and request location information from fellow users with just one tap.


If imitation is the finest form of flattery, the creators of Yo must be bathing in the praise. From Ahoy and Hey, to Oi and Oye!, to aiYoYo Sup and YOLO, the one-touch context messaging market has become inundated with products that do little or nothing more than, well, you can probably guess.


In July, Yo paired with Red Alert to notify Israeli users of inbound missile or mortar attacks. Though some derided the use of a tongue-in-cheek app for such a grave situation, Yo’s straightforward nature offered one way for at-risk citizens to take cover.


Yo has yet to reach its full potential. The recently introduced Yo Index shows a running list of websites and apps that are using the Yo API. We’re talking about everything from RainHour – which provides storm warnings – to HardBoiledYo – which will notify you when your eggs have finished boiling.

After its recent $1.5 million round of funding, Yo might soon prove inescapable. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Now go forth (and say hello).


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