14.07.2015

Hooks: the notifications you need, when you need them

Jose Luis Perez and Oleg Kozynenko have arrived in Chicago to participate in the 2015 edition of Techstars, a startup accelerator program that takes place in several cities around the world. Their project, started in Alicante in the autumn of 2014, seeks to resolve one of the persistent problems of smartphones: notifications. If you are someone who has resorted to completely cutting off this bombardment at the cost of missing information you do want, then perhaps Hooks is for you.

First things first:

First, many apps ask your permission to send notifications, but in most cases you are not able to configure which you receive. There are exceptions (like Instagram) where you can choose when you are notified (for example: I want to know who commented on my photo but not who likes it), but this is a rarity. This app will let you choose the apps you want to receive notifications from and give them your permission. Twitter can become annoying if you are constantly receiving tweets about subjects you are not interested in. Using the latest updates on Android you can customize the types of notifications appearing on your phone but it seems that this issue is not resolved in iOS. Another example is Facebook, which will remind you when you have events or a friend’s birthday.

Second, no one said that the notifications were bad! Although more than one developer has gotten out of hand using this method of engaging users (encouraging users and even exaggerating to promote ‘engagement’), the initial idea was to alert us to vital information. With the arrival of wearables that allow you to get the information you need when you need it this will be an added bonus. The notifications you value will find a place on your wrist.

And that’s where Hooks comes in: the app that sends notifications based on your needs.

“People have to install many apps to keep track of what matters. And notifications are the best way to stay informed,” explained co-founder Oleg Kozynenko to Techcrunch.

For example, say I’m in Berlin and want to know when it will rain, but I don’t have time to download an app – or I’m hooked on the Silicon Valley series and want to know when the last chapter is out but don’t want to continuously check my device – or a subject I’m interested in is covered in HackerNews but there’s no app to notify me about it.

hooks_app

Hooks is a directory with more than a hundred channels from which you can choose the notifications you want to receive. Among the most popular we see examples similar to the ones mentioned above, and many other issues such as following Bitcoin, when a virus is detected on your Mac or the results of your chosen football teams. Another interesting feature is that you can mark notifications as favorites (so if you are following an interesting subject on Hacker News you can click on it as a favorite to read later). However at the moment if you can’t find what you want you must write and ask. Currently there is no possibility to add your own channels.

The app is available for iPhone and has recently been launched on Android and Apple Watch and already claims to have 110,000 users. The team is already under the wing of the Techstars accelerator program, and according to Techcrunch is getting close to a new round of funding that will enable further growth.

Will these personalized notifications signal the end of a nightmare and the arrival of information that really interests us?