The stupid-simple application that lets you send the word “Yo” to your friends as a notification might not be so stupid after all.
A new update lets users integrate the Yo app with services such as Instagram or Craigslist by selecting them from what’s called the “Yo Index.” Sign up and you’ll get push notifications via Yo when something happens. And you can view those notifications on your home screen, without ever opening the phone.
For instance, I subscribed to the “YOBAMA” channel that will send me a push notification when President Obama announces an executive order. Other notifications include an Instagram Yo when your favorite photographer uploads a new photo, or from Craigslist when someone posts a new listing that matches a search you’ve saved. The Yo Index is open to anyone who wants to add their service to the directory.
People in Israel were already using the notification service to alert them to rocket strikes in the area.
The update also includes the ability to send links by pressing and holding on a friend’s name, update contact information with a profile photo and real name, and send a Yo to a #hashtag to find out how popular it is.
One Word, Many Notifications
Sending and receiving links might be a nice addition, but it’s not like you can’t get that anywhere else. The best thing about the new update is the notification service—it centralizes all your notifications, and lets you create alerts for things you never knew you wanted.
Yo is a colorful app that’s easy to clone, with a silly name and trendy design. So it might not be the notification pipeline that eventually takes over our smartphones. But the basic premise—setting and receiving alerts from apps and services in one efficient application—could soon be the standard way of keeping track of all our apps, and comes at the perfect moment when applications everywhere are fragmenting their services.
Instead of multiple apps sending you updates, Yo can streamline them into one feed. You can even subscribe to relevant information like earthquake alerts or weather notifications.
Yo co-founder Or Arbel told the Wall Street Journal that his app isn’t what many people think it is. It’s not a social network or a messaging service. Yo is a communications protocol. Much the way Twitter overcame early derision for its simplicity, Yo could evolve in ways unforeseen by its early critics.
Lead image by Helen A.S. Popkin for ReadWrite