Communication has been a space gaining enough attention lately. In the last few years we have seen them all – mobile messaging, video messaging, ephemeral messaging, ultra-ephemeral messaging, enterprise messaging, secured messaging. You name it and the world has it. Not just startups, markets and investors have also responded equally to this growing trend.
Earlier this year we saw 2014’s biggest acquisition – Facebook buying world’s most popular messaging app WhatsApp for $19 billion, Viber went in Rakuten’s kitty for $900 million, WeChat the Chinese entry in the space might go for IPO. The list has been pretty big and interesting too. But just when you thought the messaging market is making correction, you see a “Yo app” making news for getting funded for a million. The app just does Yo; is that cool enough?
The tech community and online publications went berserk on the ridiculousness of Silicon Valley for funding an app that just lets you buzz a friend’s phone with a Yo push notification. If you swipe it, you’re brought into the app where you can proceed to send a Yo back to your friend. As the startup describes: “Wanna say “good morning”? just Yo or Wanna say “Baby I’m thinking about you”? – Yo.”
Yo has also raised $1m in seed funding from CEO of Mobli, Moshe Hogeg’s angel fund. The founder Or Abel told the Financial Times that he coded the app in eight hours, after being asked by his then boss Moshe Hogeg, to make a notification app that could summon his secretary. After testing the app on colleagues who apparently loved it, Abel then moved to San Francisco to pursue the Yo app venture full-time.
In India, Yo has given rise to ‘Oye’ and ‘Aiyo‘ app. While Oye is more or less a rip off of Yo, Aiyo is a parody app of Yo.
According to the creators of the Oye app, Yo app has changed communications forever since they believe the busier we get, the less we want to read, follow and like. However Oye thinks that there is something missing in the Yo app which their app is going to fulfill.
“We liked Yo, but there was something missing in the app. Something didn’t feel right. So we decided to create something that would help us and millions of Indians communicate with each other. Hence was born, the idea of Oye!!. The interface is exceptionally simple – users completely new to smartphones can also use the app with ease. We have deliberately added the Indian feel, after all its Oye!!. Simplicity is what differentiates Oye!! from other messaging and communication apps.”
The Indian version of Yo app – Oye!!
Once you download Oye, you are asked to sign in with a user name. Isn’t that cool, no email signup or social login but then Yo does the same. Once you are in the Oye app you can either add, invite friends or send Oye to the listed friends of yours. Wait for an Oye back from your friend and you can mute a user who is sending too many Oye’s or at weird times. That’s pretty much what you can do within the Oye app.
Yo has everything listed above other than mute but it allows users to be deleted or blocked. The app has a settings panel which gives the number of Yo’s sent, unlocking a user, among other required features. Not sure why Oye avoided this feature when it copied everything else?
Founders of Oye claim that the app was developed in six hours and right now on Google Play Store the app has more than a thousand downloads.
Why do we need such apps and specially why Oye?
Users download apps either for entertainment or to solve a problem. I fail to understand what problem do such apps like Yo and Oye try to solve? Yo reminds me of the age old Poke feature that Facebook has now pulled down. While these apps proclaim that these are the new forms of communication, what should I do after sending a Yo, keep sending some more Yos? Or should I have the app only when I feel like saying Yo and then move to Whatsapp for the rest of the conversation or pick up the phone to call or just meet the person face to face for a coffee. The possibilities are endless!
Yo does have a use case according to Or Arbel. Talking to Verge, the founder said,“So you have the website The Verge, and you tell your readers ‘Yo us and we’ll Yo you whenever there’s a breaking story’” says Arbel. “The ones that are busy see the Yo and they know something is up, but if you’re interested you can open The Verge.” How long does it take to set up a Yo channel? “Half an hour,” says Arbel, “and that’s only because I’m out. Once I get back to my apartment I can do it in minute!” Brands and businesses who want to use Yo as a service can do so from a mobile app or from an upcoming web app.”
Anyways, Yo’s power lies in push notifications but where does the power of Oye lie? I am clueless. The founders have said that Yo has something missing that Oye is providing. Interestingly, they haven’t said what is the missing point. Besides Oye has ripped the design from Yo with just one addition of mute feature, but they are priding themselves on the minimalist design.
Oye might proclaim that it is the next big innovation in communication with an Indian feel but I am not going to do the meaningless Oyes, for that matter not even Yos. At least Aiyo is better, it isn’t saying it is the next big innovation – “This app is created with the intention of creating humor, killing time and taking a dig at investors who invest on ideas with no barrier to entry.”
Let me know if you are hooked to the likes of Yo, Oye or Aiyo. Is this really the next innovation in communication?