Honk Is the New Yo

Once, there was an app called Yo. All it did was send your friends the message, “Yo.” It was one of the best mobile apps ever made, and while it still exists, everyone deleted it years ago and there’s no one to Yo anymore. Now, a new app, Honk, would like us to Yo again, but this time we’ll say, “Honk.”

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Honk is primarily positioning itself as a messaging app that’s designed to make text-based chat feel more like having an IRL conversation. After you download the app on iOS (no Android yet), open a chat with a friend, and you’ll see a livestream of what the friend is typing in real-time. There’s no group chatting at the moment. This is all about recreating a one-on-one interaction, complete with the ability to feel comfortable-ish telling secrets since each message disappears as it comes. You’ll still want to keep your real secrets confined to Signal or an old fashioned whisper in the ear, but this works for the fun stuff.

We tested it out, and everything seems to be in working order. You can send photos or animated reactions that explode on the screen, but mostly you just talk to one person while watching them correct typos or decide to say something else. Has anyone ever texted you something and immediately followed up with, “I shouldn’t have said that”? Well, that person had no excuse. They should’ve looked at their message before sending it. But on Honk, a user can finally blame a bad message on a reckless slip of the tongue (or finger).

But you can’t just unload an info dump on your friends when they’re not around—they have to be in the app to see messages. If you want to chat with a friend you have two options: open the app and see who’s online or send them a Honk. The Honk button sends them a notification message that says, “[Insert friend name] honked you.” If a user hits the button a second time, a message will be sent that says “[Insert friend name] honked you again.”

While the real-time messaging thing might appeal to some people out there, I would argue that sending a Honk is Honk’s true killer feature, and it should be primarily used to send cryptic Honks. I just need everyone to download the app for a brief time so I can know my Honks are going to find a home.

DISCUSSION

Honestly, I’m kind of interested in this. There is an element of natural conversation that is often missing in text-based chat methods, and the “typing” indicators that are supposed to help with that cause new problems. I think we all know what it’s like to end up having two simultaneous conversations with the same person, where each person is writing their response to a different thing at the same time. It’s...awkward, to say the least.

I doubt this will ever be better than regular texting, but I am curious to try it out.