Today marks the first update to Yo, a stupidly simple app that, with a single tap of the screen, sends your friend the one-word message ‘Yo’. The update makes one-tap messages available from services (not just friends) and lets you view user profiles.

The user profile udate is fairly benign. Yo lets you add your real name and photo. So when you get a Yo for the first time from some unknown user name, like Candy321, you can swipe the user name to the right and see that Candy321 is just your friend Nicki.

The real meat of the update is Yo’s connection to services.

If you open Yo’s menu, you’ll see a tab called Index. Within it is a list of services that will ‘Yo’ you when a product is ready or if a tweet has gone viral. Is the Citibike rack out of bikes? Get a Yo when one is available. There’s a whole list of services that will Yo you, including when a FedEx package arrives; Craigslist posts a new listing in your search; or any number of news outlets or blogs post an update.


In addition to adding service Yo’s, the app looks like it is moving into the social realm. For instance, Yo will send your Instagram followers a Yo when you post a new picture. You can also receive a Yo when venture capitalist Marc Andreeson starts a tweet storm on Twitter.

Important to note: Anyone can add a Yo service; whether it’s an alert to a blog update or food service delivery.

Another social aspect of Yo’s new update is the ability to send and receive links from contacts. Copy a link to an article you’re reading then open Yo, tap and hold down one of your contacts and boom, link sent.

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There are also hashtags. Add a hashtag to your list of contacts and then Yo it to show your support. Swiping left on the hashtag will show you how many people like this tag, or have Yo-ed it. Though it’s obvious that this is the sort of function that marketers would love (ie. Yo #ILOVECHICKEN to show your support), it’s unclear why consumers would be interested in Yo-ing a hashtag.

Still, the app is known for making unlikely functions go viral. To date the app has accrued over one million users and secured $1.5 million in seed round funding. This update may be intended to show investors that Yo has a life beyond one-to-one communications.

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