Rolling in a new year typically means demonstrating new and interesting features for existing products, especially around the same time that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is occurring. Kik Messenger–one of the top mobile messengers that people are still chatting on–is set to have an exciting year ahead of it. One of the primary focuses from 2016 was the app’s bot platform, and with bots becoming more prevalent across a wider variety of applications, we can only expect Kik to take advantage of it! Above and beyond that, there are sure to be other exciting features waiting in the wings, so let’s take a look at what’s in store for Kik’s 2017!
One of the cool things about most mobile applications that are riding high on their popularity is that they have to evolve if they want to stay relevant. They’re not just competing with other apps–they’re trying to bring new and innovative features to the table that users will both want and sing the praise of. It’s a trickier task than you might initially think. Apps that have been popular for years, like Kik Messenger, have turned this sort of innovation, evolving, and competition practically into an art form.
This tells us a couple of things, both of which will apply to Kik as we see the platform move into a new year. First, there are definitely going to be some hype-worthy things going on with the company and its app. There always are. There have to be! Secondly, we should expect that some of the cool, new stuff coming to Kik is going to branch off of what made it successful in 2016. If Kik continues to be as popular as it currently is, the newer features might become what the app is known for.
After all, if Kik wants to remain a contender, it doesn’t just have to keep its current users happy; it has to attract new users and stay competitive with other chat applications on the market. By and large, we think that Kik is going to do this. While other applications such as Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram copycat features back and forth between one another, Kik has been finding interesting ways to implement features that its users want. Video chat has been in hot demand for quite a while now, and now that we’ve seen how the development team wanted to implement it, we can confidently say that it feels right for Kik; not just like another copied-over video calling portion for the larger application.
It’s this sort of consistency that has helped Kik to stay in the spotlight, and we should expect it to do just the same throughout 2017.
New for Kik in 2017
First up, let’s take a look at some of the brand new features that might be hitting Kik this year. Much of this is speculation. For the reasons stated above, app developers like to play it quiet when entirely new features are in development so that they can maximize the initial impact of those features being released. It’s a critical factor in the competitive app development market, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t free to speculate!
One of the things that Kik did, right off the bat, was show the world that a chat application didn’t have to be limited to usual chat functions. Kik did this by integrating a web browser right into the core of its experience and allowed third parties to design Kik-optimized websites. These, in turn, brought more users to Kik and lavished some young energy on third-parties that chose to design websites for the application.
Bots & Browsing
Speaking of Kik-optimized websites, we also saw some changes to the way that the Kik web browser works. No longer is it used to search for particular websites; it’s now something of a social media tool, and a record of the chats you’ve had with various other Kik users.
The browser was rolled into a feature called “Kik Web History.” Accessing it will show you a list of all the websites that you’ve visited through Kik. To visit websites, you’ll need a link. To get a link, you’ll have to get to chatting. See how that makes sense? There are plenty of free web browers available on mobile deviecs; Kik Messenger didn’t need to copy them, so much as it needed a way to integrate websites into chat. This is innovative, and most users who’ve tried it have found that they enjoy it, as an addition to the usual Kik chat service.
Improved for Kik in 2017
When we’re talking about improvements rather than brand new features, we can move away from pure speculation and start to look at what’s actually happening in Kik, right now. Much of this has to do with features that were rolled out and/or debuted in 2016, which only stand to get better throughout 2017.
They’re new things that users have loved, and that’s reason enough for fans of the platform to get hyped!
Most messaging applications feature some type of video chat, now. When all of the competition is doing it, you have to implement something similar or risk the appearance of being outdated, out of touch, or failing. Thankfully, Kik has implemented video chat into its platform in a way that feels original.
Chat has always been the point of Kik and keeping the app open to as many people as possible has been the precedent set for several years, now. It should come as no surprise that the video chat functions of Kik operate as easily as flicking a switch. It allows the actual chat screen to remain the most important element of the experience; the video component always accompanies what your friends are typing into the chat window.
This format is somewhat unique! In other chat messengers, any incorporated video calling immediately blocks the user from viewing the actual chat window. Expect this feature–only recently released at the tail-end of 2016–to improve and take further shape through 2017.
Throughout 2016, bots were the hot topic of most mobile application platforms. They were supposed to change the way that people interacted with online systems. Many things that people would only do in a web browser–ordering food, booking a hotel or an Uber ride–was going to be migrated to bots. These simply coded mini-applications could then be hosted on almost any chat platform that developed in a bot-friendly way.
Which was most of them. Kik Messenger, in particular, has always been at the forefront of new and exciting developments in bot implementation. Just take a look at the bot shop if you need proof of it!
In a very recent blog post from the Kik team, we’ve learned that bots are only going to become more prolific. They’re going to be able to respond to specific inquery and mentions, even when they’re only being poked by another bot! We’ve seen the astounding success of IFTT (If This, Then That) formulae when deployed with other applications. Bot interaction within Kik–and other chat applications–would provide similar functionality and flexibility!
Ever-Growing Bot Shop
Speaking of bots (and the bot shop, which was linked above) have you seen how thoroughly Kik has been sticking to it over the past year? While many skeptics wondered at the potential and relevance of bots in our chat applications, Kik Messenger has been putting rubber to road and kicking butt with its ever-expanding bot shop.
In 2017, we shouldn’t just expect to see the bot shop grow; we should expect it to diversify. Mostly, Kik bots are currently used for fun. A lot of the practical potential is locked behind elements that are outside of Kik’s control–such as third party’s embracing everything that bots are capable of.
Stickers & More
Also at the tail-end of 2016, we saw new renovations and additions to the Kik sticker shop. What was particularly exciting about this for most users was the fact that a majority of the sticker packs were free. Users could hop in, download them, and start implementing these specifically designed graphics in all of their Kik messages. There was quite a lot of concern that Kik would begin charging exorbitant amounts of money for features like this, even if they had, there are probably plenty of people who’d have been willing to pay what they asked.
For now, however, stickers are free. They’re fun, and also a big step up from the typical emoji that you find in many chat applications. They make a perfect companion to the GIF keyboard that Kik users are already using to spruce up their chats.
Well, what do you think? It’s hard to way what, exactly, Kik is going to be bringing to the table for 2017. But we can safely assume that its newest and most popular features are going to receive some fine-tuning and improvement. Without any doubt, we will see new things from Kik before the year is over, and we’ll be here to report those new features as soon as they’re announced!