Tel Aviv is one of the worlds most vibrant start-up scenes, and currently it’s latest standout is ‘Yo’, a colorful app which allows users to share single word messages with each other. Derided by many as a joke, the app nonetheless attracted tens of thousands of users in a matter of weeks, and went on to receive over a million dollars in investor money. Now however, this “joke” of an app, is getting some deadly serious functionality.
The joke app just got deadly serious.
As well as being a tech hub, Tel Aviv is also unfortunately caught up in the geopolitical struggle between Israel and Palestine. Currently, the city is coming under daily fire from missiles launched by the Islamic militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Once missiles are fired, residents have less than a minute to reach shelters before they could hit the city.
Since the latest resumption of hostilities in this conflict, the developers of Yo, have teamed up with the makers of another app, ‘Red Color: Israel’, in order to send warnings of incoming missiles to its users. Now, whenever a missile alert is sounded in Israel, the user will receive a ‘Yo’ from Red Color, which should give them time to seek cover.
While this is an interesting use of the messaging system, it does little to prove Yo’s value as an app. If the program allowed longer messages, it could provide users with much more information about the location and intended targets of a particular missile strike, as well as perhaps how long the user has to get to safety. Indeed, these are functions which ‘Red Color: Israel’ already provides, as well as a jarring audio alarm. With this is mind, it is likely that Yo’s decision to include this functionality was chosen more as a publicity stunt than a real attempt to prove that their app is useful.
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