Yo

Yo

Updated Jul 11, 2014 at 12:52PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jun 19, 2014 at 02:44PM EDT by Molly Horan.

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About

Yo is a mobile messaging application that allows users to send other mobile device users a text notification that simply reads “Yo.” It was created by Israeli developer Or Arbel as a way to simplify mobile-to-mobile communication.

History

The app was created by iOS engineer Or Arbel[2] after Moshe Hogeg, the CEO of Tel Aviv-based social investment startup Mobli and his then employer, asked for an app that would allow him to get his personal assistant’s attention with something even easier than a text. The app took Arbel eight hours to create. Yo was launched on April 1st, 2014[3] and is available to download for free through the Apple Store and Google Play.

Funding

On June 18th, 2014, the Financial Times[7] announced Yo had raised 1 million dollars[4] through investors, most of which are connected to Hogeg and Mobile.

Features

With the Yo app users can send a “Yo,” notification using only two taps, which the creator has compared to the eleven taps it would take to send a message reading Yo on the rival app Whatsapp. By double tapping someone’s name you can send a notification which will say “YoYo.”



Usage in Israel

Following the outbreak of violent clashes in Gaza, The Time of Israel[9] reported that the developers of Yo and Red Alert, a breaking news notification app that alerts its users about incoming rocket and missile attacks throughout the region, modified the app to serve as a crowd-sourced early warning system during the crisis.



Reception

As of June 18th, 2014, Yo had gained over 50,000 users who had sent almost 4 million “Yo” notifications. The app has an average 4.5 star rating[6] in the Apple Store. In less than 24 hours between June 18th and June 19th, the app gained over 170,000 new users. On June 19th, Buzzfeed[1] published an article which collected negative comments about the app from Twitter.



Hacked

On June 20th, TechCrunch[8] reported that a Georgia Tech student, along with two of his roommates, managed to hack the app so that they could freely send Yos to any user subscribed to the app, which was subsequently confirmed by the company.



“We can get any Yo user’s phone number (I actually texted the founder, and he called me back.) We can spoof Yos from any users, and we can spam any user with as many Yos as we want. We could also send any Yo user a push notification with any text we want (though we decided not to do that.)”

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