Just when you thought there wasn’t anymore more room for another social media platform – along comes Yubl  – and (I think) it’s brilliant.

Aimed at the disinterested youth that’s quickly haemorrhaging from the mainstream Facebook, Yubl is a completely mobile social networking platform. And, despite the graveyard of failed social networking apps and websites – we’re looking at you MSN Spaces – Yubl looks poised to capture the fleeting attentions of young Brits with ease.

What’s in a Yubl?

I’ve spent far too long mulling the name Yubl over in my head. Where does it come from? After all, Snapchat is a conversation through ‘snapping’ photos, Twitter has flocks of people chirping their opinions into the ether, but what’s a Yubl?

British up start

As an app, Yubl could be described as an amalgamation of WhatsApp, Vine, Snapchat and Instagram. You can have private chats with friends or groups, share posts publicly in a timeline a la Twitter or see what’s happening on Yubl as a whole by viewing trending yubls from influencers, brands and publications.

yubl_james_parker_and_ben_copping_product_designers

James Parker & Ben Copping – yubl designers

While it may be hard to figure out what really sets Yubl apart from its peers, having used Yubl for the last week or so, it’s clear that its creativity and simplicity is its key differentiator. Speaking to Yubl’s product designers Ben Copping and James Parker, it’s clear this ethos has been part of Yubl from day one.

“We really took a user-first approach rather than ‘the tech guys’ trying to think up a new piece of tech and then find a use for it later on”, explained Copping. “We’ve tried to consider something you can use in many different ways from the first day.”

Read more on Alphr.

The mission? To become the “next-generation social networking and messaging platform.” The company plans to gradually roll the service out across Europe from next month before landing in the U.S. later this year.

Yubl (rhymes with “bubble”) is a mobile-first (natch) service available on Android and iOS. As with existing social apps, you can connect with friends using simple text-based messages and photos. But Yubl lets you do much more than that — it serves up a blank canvas for users to create something entirely from scratch.

You can choose a background color, throw in some photos and videos from your camera roll, move them around, graffiti over the top, change the fonts, plaster some stickers … you get the idea.

Besides being able to create pretty pictures or visual monstrosities, you can also build interactive buttons to solicit opinions from your buddies — “What shirt should I buy?” “Pizza or sushi?” And so on.

Everyone in the group sees the same thing and can convey their feelings about a certain topic of discussion. What you end up with could look a little something like this:

Yubl

Above: Yubl

There are three main areas to Yubl. “Private” is for one-on-one or group chats for those who have been invited to join.

Deals done

“Public” is, as its name suggests, an open forum to search for Yubls shared across the entire social network, be they your own friends and followers or celebrities and brands. And it’s this area that gives the biggest hint as to how Yubl plans to monetise — it has struck deals with some well-known companies, including Red Bull, Starbucks, and ASOS, which will interact with users and publish content through the app. The third area is “Explore,” which is essentially for finding content, brands, creators, and celebrities to follow on Yubl.

Though more will be added in the future, at launch there are five interactive buttons available: Vote, Count, WebLink, Whereabouts, and Pinpoint.

Yubl Pinpoint

Above: Yubl Pinpoint

The latter two are particularly useful for group meetups, as they let you query friends, who can respond by pressing a button to post their location on a map that’s visible to everyone in the group. Similarly, you can place a pin on a map to show where to meet at a future time.

That’s Yubl in a nutshell.

Road to big things?

VentureBeat was given a demo of the app and its functions in London last month, and the most immediately striking facet of the app was the incredible amount of attention to detail. It was slick, well-designed, and ridiculously well-planned, with all the necessary letters dotted and crossed. It was clear that this wasn’t another fly-by-night startup bootstrapped through weekend bar work.

Indeed, the company has been testing the app in universities around the U.K., has worked with focus groups to garner feedback, and has topped and tailed the app in preparation for the big launch.

Upon further probing, we find that the app was more than two years in the making and that the firm already has more than 60 employees and £15 million ($20 million) in private financial backing. For a prelaunch startup, that’s pretty staggering.

Among the founding members is Gareth Evans, previously the founder and CEO of a communications company called Synergy, acquired by DDB in 2011.

“Yubl has been built for today’s users and their needs — we’ve created something that encompasses everything people love about mobile technology and much more,”

Evans continues:

“It delivers a richer, more engaging, and hassle-free way to communicate by bringing users closer together with friends, interesting content, and their favourite brands and personalities. The only limit is their own imagination.”

Also involved is Jonathan Ellis, cofounder of a company called Psygnosis, which designed and published games such as Lemmings more than 25 years ago. Psygnosis was acquired by Sony in 1993 in a deal that was to be the genesis for the Sony PlayStation two years later.

Money money money

Big backers, big money, big attention to detail. So does this mean that Yubl is destined for big things? Maybe. But there is something that doesn’t quite sit right about a product that has been so cautiously planned. That may sound counterintuitive, but when you look at all the great social apps of our time — Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp — they all got off the ground with little money or fanfare and minimal market research. Above all, they all became established organically, through a mixture of scrappy execution, word of mouth, and luck — being in the right place at the right time.

Completely disregarding what the product is, what it does, and who it’s aimed at, I have my doubts that something that has been so meticulously “figured out” in advance can truly take off in a big way. That’s not to say it won’t, of course. Yubl isn’t aimed at people like me — someone who still remembers making plans for a night out without the luxury of a mobile phone. Yubl is aimed at millennials, those who have a difficult time imagining a world without mobile phones.

Read more at VentureBeat.

Yubl’s uniqueness lies is in its functional buttons and instant peer-to-peer connectivity. At launch, Yubl will be debuting 5 buttons: Vote, Link, Whereabouts, Pinpoint and the custom Count button.

  • Vote will allow you to post a picture or video with a question, letting other people select one of two options.
  • Link lets you add your links to your content – useful for us.
  • Whereabouts lets you share your location on a map with friends, and updates in real time.
  • Pinpoint lets you give a particular address that people can then register to by tapping on the icon. Helpful for when you and your friends need to choose a meetup point.
  • Lastly is the Count button, a single “number count” which works like the Vote button but with only one option.
Yubl Buttons

Read more at Techradar

Yubl is free to download from the App Store and Google Play and promises to always be free. It won’t carry annoying advertising now or in the future, the company said – we shall wait and see! In the meantime, download and have some fun!

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