Yo Hosts Its First Hackathon

Yo, perhaps the most basic mobile app on the market, attempted to prove its broader application last weekend by hosting a hackathon. The hackathon invited developers to integrate the Yo API into a third-party app. While much of the world considers the Yo app, which allows a user to make a friend’s phone say “Yo,” somewhat of a joke, the hosts took an alternative approach to the company’s increasingly famous app. Yo’s expectations for the hackathon were strikingly direct:

Just like the Yo app, the hackathon will be concise and remarkably efficient.


Yo hosted its guests for a quick meet-and-greet/Q&A session Friday evening. Then developers had just two hours to hack something together. Was it a joke? Two winners of $2,500 would argue otherwise. Beyond the real money winners, some interesting apps came out of the two-hour time slot. YoServerIsDown utilizes the Yo API to inform a subscriber when a server goes down. YOaster informs a user when a piece of bread has been fully toasted. On the more competitive side of things, Yo Radio can bookmark a song playing on the radio so the listener can easily identify the song at a later date. When you consider Yo Radio as a potential competitor to an app like Shazam, you can't help but rethink the overall viability of Yo.

Yo boasts that its API constitutes “the world’s simplest API.” Seeing as the app might be the world’s simplest app, Yo might be correct. At the same time, Yo expects and envisions major Integration ideas for its basic API. Whether it's integrating with Shopify or a major news outlet, the Yo API could end up being a premier notification tool. To sign up and learn more, fill out this form.

So Yo hosted a hackathon, and it is enjoying its 15 minutes of fame. But let's be honest: Isn’t Yo dumbed-down SMS or push messaging with some audio functionality? Isn’t Yo just the mobile app version of Silly Bandz or the slap bracelet? Perhaps, but one must wonder: As the mobile world is bombarded with ever-increasing capabilities on tinier and tinier devices, does Yo provide some zen sense of simplicity that our overloaded lives might need? Wait and see.

Be sure to read the next Hacking article: Today in APIs: First West Bank Hackathon Illustrates Palestinian Tech Ecosystem