Whenever I install a new app on my iPhone, the first thing I invariably do is deny it permission to send me notifications. It is a bit odd, therefore, to find myself writing about Hooks, an iOS app that has the sole purpose of sending you notifications triggered by things that are important to you.
But therein lies the difference: In theory, at least, Hooks is designed to send you notifications that serve you, not merely the ‘engagement’ agenda of the app’s maker.
“People need to install many apps to stay tuned on what matters to them. Also, for many things, notifications are the easiest way to be well informed,” co-founder Oleg Kozynenko tells me, when asked to explain the problem Hooks has set out to solve.
Negating the need to install “many apps” to receive things like news alerts, the latest sports score, or something more niche, such as the current Bitcoin exchange rate, Hooks provides a directory of 100 ‘channels’, consisting of 1 million-plus user created alerts. The startup even claims that it will create a new notification ‘recipe’ for you if you can’t already find one that meets your needs.
Many of the existing predefined notifications are configurable so you can drill down further. For example, you can tell the app to alert you whenever new content appears on TechCrunch, but specifically within our Europe news category if European tech news is your bag.
Further examples include being notified when your “personal brand” is mentioned (similar to a Google Alert but for social media), changes in a website’s ranking or if a specific domain is unreachable, the latest stock market prices, weather conditions, and so on. Remember, Hooks provides over 1 million of these things.
“We think that notifications will become a major way you get most of your information,” adds Kozynenko. “This is happening already as ‘wearable technology’ like the Apple Watch has been introduced. In this new environment, people are going to need killer apps to help them.”
The iOS app is currently free, but Kozynenko says future revenue could come in the form of charging for having more than a set number of configured alerts, charging for certain “business” alerts, like stocks, or connecting to enterprise platforms.