Why single-use apps like Yo could take over your smartphone
A short, catchy name and one button that does one task. If that’s the winning formula for Yo, then it’s good enough for the team at Base Forty and their new app Lo.
Lo is an iPhone and Android app that allows users to instantly request and send their location information to their friends. In an obvious tribute to Yo, the app is made of big colored blocks and simple white text. When a friend accepts your request and sends his or her location data to you, it shows up in an easy-to-read push notification.
Sign up for the 10 Things in Tech newsletter for the latest trends & developments in tech.
Base Forty’s Evan Bullington told Business Insider he and his three teammates came up with the app while living together to work on their other app, Robin, a Tinder-like app for making new friends. He says with four guys sharing an apartment for the summer with only one key, they were constantly coordinating over text.
“One day we were talking about our internal communication. We text and GroupMe each other constantly, and the most common message is ‘where are you?’ Bullington told Business Insider. “On a Wednesday at midnight we decided to try to bang out the app as an “internal hackathon” in one night.” The team took another few weeks to smooth out some coding cracks and then write an Android version, he said.
Lo could conceivable have plenty of uses. Bullington suggests teams, parents, and travelers would find the app useful, or even someone who’s simply annoyed at a friend running late. For Bullington and his teammates, all Princeton University students, the convenience is key.
“Even though asking for where someone is isn’t the most tedious task, Lo makes that one tap, rather than 20 or 30. Allowing users to send and receive information more efficiently, in our eyes, is one of the primary goals of technology, so anything that facilitates that goal is here to stay,” team member Darshan Desai says.
It works like this. First we tap a friend’s name (Adam) in the app.
Adam gets a push notification.
With one tap, Adam can open the app and reply to our request.
Finally, we get a push notification telling where Adam is in relation to us.