Run with – or against – anyone in the world in real-time with Yog

yog web page

If you need a running buddy or someone to challenge you, the Yog network  is more than happy to turn your workout into a cooperative or  competitive effort. The iPhone app connects you with other runners, so you can join them, or race them, depending on your motivation. 

Fresh out of 2011’s class of GE and OMD’s incubator, the social running application for iPhone is launching officially out of beta today after 14 months of testing. Yog was founded by self-professed Yoggers and co-founders Will L., Yog’s backend and Web “ninja,” and Peter Pelberg, who tells me he’s the guy who handles everything but the code. More officially speaking, Dennis is the CTO and Pelberg the CEO of Yog.

There are plenty of running and fitness apps out there that brandish the title of “social” simply because they allow you to push your workout stats to Twitter or Facebook. But Yog is actually social because it turns your solitary run into a shared experience. And based on this social framework, “motivation” was built into the app by incorporating features that encouraged habit and peer pressure – two social characteristics, Pelberg concluded, that drive human motivation.

yog set up

Yog lets you run with anyone in the world in real-time. Yoggers with the app can set up a date, time, and distance that they’d like to run, and then invite friends from your iPhone contact list or Facebook friends to join the running group. But what makes the experience social is that these runs are publicly viewable on Yog’s system. Anyone who sees the invite shared using Facebook, Twitter, email or other channels can add themselves to the group whether or not they have Yog’s iPhone app downloaded.

For instance an interested runner from New Zealand, who may not necessarily be friends with you but happened to stumble on your Facebook post through a mutual friend, can join in on the run. If a runner doesn’t have the app, an email or text message with a link to download Yog will be sent to them and proceed to add them to the group.

The run itself begins promptly on the designated date and time, but group participants can run from anywhere in the world. In fact, Yog’s beta stage had global testers from four continents and 25 countries. The only requirements for you to participate is that you have to have your iPhone on hand while running (which would could see being a bit cumbersome), and you must be running outdoors. Pelberg confirms that for now, the app won’t work on treadmills since the co-founders are outdoor runners and encourages users to enjoy the great outdoors. And to curb cheaters who would think to ride a car or a bike, which would completely defeat the purpose of self-improvement, Yog automatically disqualifies runners who exceed the fastest recorded mile time ever run in human history.

yog live runs

During the race, each runner’s distance is updated in real-time and displayed on a progress bar showing the distance that has been covered by each user. 

“We see this social aspect as being both beneficial to people that are just starting to run and need motivation and need somebody to run with, and for competitive runners, we see it as a great training tool to rally people around training for 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and up to ultra-marathons,” says Pelberg. Runs can be as short as 0.1 miles and as long as 50.9 miles.

At the end of each race, runners can view what place they came in, as well as personal metrics like calories burned, average miles per hour, pace, and other statistics. While Yog itself is a free app, access to your statistics requires a one-time $0.99 fee that lasts until perpetuity.

“We see this physical act of exercise as a tremendous platform on which to build a really rich digital experience that changes the way you run and think about running,” he tells me. “Everybody on our system is running together; that’s our currency. We’re creating an entirely new running experience.”

Yog’s working on adding features as well. On the immediate agenda, the Yog team has built the backend architecture for user profiles, “so that we’re able to understand and populate a user profile when we implement that down the line.” But profiles won’t be surfaced just yet since the team plans on implementing features in babysteps.

Down the road, leader boards, self-improvement metrics, skill-based matching, and Wahoo armbands are ideas that the team is toying with and could make it into the app in the near future.

Yog is available in the Apple App Store.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

The best treadmills of 2018

The exercise of running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles at the same time.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Product Review

The all-new Palm wants to be many things, but it’s really just a tiny smartphone

The all-new Palm is here, and it’s tinier than ever. Exclusive to Verizon, it syncs to your primary smartphone and acts as a secondary device -- with features to help you disconnect from technology. But at $350, is it worth the high price…

Save energy and money with a $45 discount on the Nest smart thermostat

If you were looking for a smart thermostat, Amazon is offering up to $45 in savings on the popular Nest Learning Thermostat. Use stainless steel thermostat to the keep your home warm and cozy this fall and save energy by scheduling the…
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Product Review

Philip Hue’s versatile outdoor light strip makes drab yards, holiday decor dazzle

Philips Hue fans can at last enjoy the brilliance of this weatherproof light strip, which offers simple, versatile positioning, a rich selection of 16 million color options, and bright, vibrant illumination.
Smart Home

Softly spoken interactions with Alexa now possible with new Whisper Mode

Amazon's Whisper Mode for Alexa has gone live, so now you can talk more softly to Alexa and it'll respond in kind. The feature will most likely come in handy around napping babies or for bed partners you don't want to wake.
Smart Home

Add some nature to your tech with Mui, a wood panel that’s also a smart display

Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants -- or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
Smart Home

One in 10 smart home device owners report unresolved technical problems

According to a recent survey from Parks Associates, more than one in 10 consumers report they have experienced technical errors with their connected devices that have yet to be resolved.
Smart Home

New Nuimo Click gives one-touch control over smart home devices

Berlin-based technology company Senic has announced the Nuimo Click, a smart switch that harvests kinetic energy to power itself without the need for cables or batteries. The Nuimo Click will begin shipping in December.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Smart Home

Angee’s security service switches from sales to subscriptions

Angee, a successful startup that raised nearly half a million dollars for its home security hub, has pivoted its business model to offer its home security platform as a subscription rather than a smart home product.