This!

Finweek English Edition - - TECHNOLOGY -

and re­cently launched for Win­dows Phone, too. The app searches the ad­dress book on your phone and then dis­plays a list of your friends who are al­ready us­ing the app. Touch their name and, well, you know the rest.

It’s not some­thing you’d ex­pect to garner much at­ten­tion from the tech fra­ter­nity, but in June $1m was in­vested in Yo by an an­gel fund founded by Moshe Ho­geg, the CEO of Mobli. This was soon fol­lowed with en­quiries by other in­vestors.

In­ven­tor of the world’s first wide­lyused web browser and ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Marc An­dreessen jumped to Yo’s de­fense on Twit­ter where he said that the app was an ex­am­ple of “one-bit com­mu­ni­ca­tion” – es­sen­tially mes­sages that con­tain no in­for­ma­tion other than the fact they ex­ist. He later added that it was also an ex­am­ple of an un­bun­dled ser­vice that took one com­po­nent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and fo­cused on it, it­er­a­tively build­ing a ser­vice from that point. He said that Twit­ter was an­other ex­am­ple of a com­pany that started with a sim­ple, un­bun­dled ser­vice and then added func­tion­al­ity.

Where things got re­ally in­ter­est­ing for users, and be­gan to back up An­dreessen’s ar­gu­ment, was when IFTTT – a ser­vice we have re­viewed be­fore in a pre­vi­ous is­sue of Fin­week – added sup­port for Yo so that it could be com­bined with other apps. So, for ex­am­ple, you could have IFTTT send a Yo mes­sage to all your friends in a spe­cific town when you ar­rive there. The pos­si­bil­i­ties for trig­ger­ing mes­sages are vir­tu­ally end­less.

In­vestors don’t pump money into businesses with­out plans, so it’s in­trigu­ing to see Yo roll out its strat­egy. For now, it’s just a weirdly de­signed app with a sin­gle pur­pose, but it has started an in­ter­est­ing dis­cus­sion and its cre­ators clearly have an idea of what it could be be­come. For us, it’s just a way of grab­bing some­one’s at­ten­tion. Sort of like Face­book pokes – for now.

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