It has been almost 10 years since Kik arrived in the world of online instant messaging. Ever since its conception and availability, the numbers of Kik users continue to grow. Popularity of the app can be comprehended from the fact that it is being used by people from around 230 countries. It is estimated that 240 million people are communicating with their friends and family members with the help of this fun app. Now, many of us might think that it is the zenith of the app; they may further inquire what more Kik has to offer in the time to come and what other developments we might see. To answer the question, we shall take a look at how the app has reached milestones of popularity and continue to do so, especially when there are almost a dozen of online messaging apps struggling to excel. Period users of Kik might have noticed the changes in the app from time to time, but for the beginners, here is the short history of Kik Messenger.
Timeline of Kik Messenger – A Brief History
- 2009 – Kik Messenger app is launched by a group of students from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Gets incorporated by Kik Interactive.
- 2011 – Kik Messenger integrates with various apps and becomes a versatile cross system chat platform.
- 2011 – Several chats such as FileKicker, DrinkOwl, Smiler, Zwonks, and FlyScreen that integrated Kik were launched for Android and iPhones.
- 2012 – Kik Cards were launched to enable users to enhance their chats and give them a possibility of sharing and searching for YouTube videos with other users, create artwork, search and share images, without downloading any of them.
- 2014 – Kik launches its own browser so that users don’t have to use a separate app to browse web while they are on Kik. The browser was integrated in the messenger app itself.
- 2015 – Arrival of Kik bots, the future of interaction of human and artificially intelligent robots over web and allied services.
- 2016 – Bots continue to improve and various companies as well as service provider launch their bots to extend their facilities and product reach.
The Future of Kik Messenger
Kik Messenger is here to stay, that’s for sure. With latest updates and new features, it is soon going to be in the league of top online IM apps beating WeChat and Line significantly. There is no doubt that popularity of messenger will grow among teens and youngsters in other countries as well. The app has as of now two challenges – to remain relevant in the sudden storm of internet messaging apps and to come up constantly with great features to keep them engaged. Another challenge is to expand the user database in other continents such as Africa and Asia. Demographics here come into play especially when there is a considerable percentage of young generation who is tech savvy and updated about the latest happenings in mobile world. Since 2009, the year of launch of Kik, it has come up with interesting updates and incorporated innovation as more number of people are switching from fixed workstations to mobile devices – smartphones, tablets, and now even smart wearable devices. There is dedicated team of highly sophisticated developers behind success of Kik. They keep on improving the app and making it better than its previous version. We can split Kik’s future plans in basically three categories – bots, enhancing chats and creating new features, and improving Kik codes application to more domains. The people at Kik read the feedback and comments by users and take it really seriously to enhance the functionality of app.
The Scope of Kik Messenger
Kik has become the most popular messaging app after Facebook in the USA. It is no surprise that nearly 70% of the Kik users are below 24 years of age. Since a majority of Kik users happen to be teenagers and young adults, it is quite obvious that development of Kik app and all the updates to be rolled out in future will be focused on their needs and desires. Kik Interactive continues to work upon the app and make it more appealing to those parts of the world, especially South East Asia, where its reach is relatively lower. Some of the features of the messenger are already unique to it such as anonymity, integrated apps, and user protection. But this is not the end because there is a constant healthy struggle among various IM apps to be the leader of messaging apps and grow number of users exponentially. This is where Kik Interactive has rolled out two important features – Kik Codes and Kik Bots, description on which is given below.
Kik Codes are QR codes which are unique to a user. It is a kind of barcode which can be read by camera on the smartphone or any other mobile device. You can scan QR code of a user and connect with him over app. In this way, you won’t have to exchange usernames. So to invite people to connect on Kik, you have one more method apart from posting the same on social media platforms. You can just post your code on social media and the other user desirous of connecting with you can scan the code with his app and connect to you. This method actually accelerates the process without having to type or search the username manually. Code is unique to every user hence there is not even a single chance of error or misinterpretation. On scanning the code, horizontal and vertical lines run across it and detect the person to which the code is assigned. We can foresee QR codes becoming quite a cool trend in the time to come which will not be used to detect users but to avail other services such as move tickets, gas station bills, restaurant bills, electricity bills, information on a product, and internet telephony.
Bots are artificially intelligent virtual Kik users that interact with real users to explain their services, products, and other relevant information. Bots vary from sports to fashion, health to traffic, and music to career to name a few. Around 17 million people have conversed with 100 bots already and the number is rising steadily. Various companies are developing their bots for Kik and CNN is the latest to join the bandwagon. Experiencing chatting with bot is similar to chatting with a real user. Bots have become famous to the point where competitors of Kik have started development of their own bots. One of the reasons why bots are getting immensely popular is that people prefer a humanized touch rather than plainly downloading apps and using them. It gives them a sense of talking to real user while enquiring all the doubts and getting them resolved. While apps are not facing a downfall, the developers are also making bots as an extension to the service. Such is the power of social media that everything is being customized around it. Further, artificial intelligence is making bots smarter which simultaneously collect data and user preferences for better service.
III. Other Features