Kik Messenger Review

Small and Simple Messenger With an Embedded Browser

Kik is one of the many instant messengers on the market, but one that is making its way towards the top ranked messengers. It has been around since 2010 and has now gathered around 200 million users. It is simpler and fewer in features than the likes of WhatsApp and Viber, with a pure instant messaging functionality that can send pictures and stickers along with messages, and no more. No voice or video calling, and not even a way to send pre-recorded videos.

Kik has an embedded browser in its already very simple interface, which can be used to load content from contacts or third-party developers, for a mobile-based social network. The whole service is free, except for stickers.

Setting Up

Kik is free to download and install on your Android or iOS device. It is also available for Windows Phone and Amazon devices. One important point of difference between Kik and WhatsApp is that is does not use your phone number and instead uses a username of your choosing, just like Skype does. While this can be viewed as a hassle for some, others see it as a means to protect their privacy, as they don’t feel at ease giving away their phone numbers to companies who could sell them. Your username is the identifier you share with your friends so they can recognize you on the network. Your profile photo is shown as well.

So when you fire up your newly installed Kik, you register by entering some basic information like name, username, password and stuff.

In a minute, you are inside the app, ready to update your contacts. Now this is done automatically right from the start, and it involves checking which of your phone contacts uses Kik. Now since it does not use phone numbers, you won’t get a huge list.

There are features to find people on the network.

You enter either their name, username or a hashtag in the case of groups. A hashtag is like a username for a group.

Messaging

Messaging in Kik is as simple as it can get. You type your message and send, and are notified whenever a message is sent your way. The status of a message is known at any point in time. When you send the message, a D appears at its side, saying that it is delivered. When your correspondent reads it, the D turns to an R, which means received. This way you know when your buddy has read your message. Along with messages, you can send pictures, Youtube videos and memes.

You can create groups in Kik with up to 50 participants, with a hashtag. In the group, anybody can message everybody. You can also create a private group.

The Interface

The app itself is quite light with only 14 MB. It is quite fast, both in terms of operation on the mobile device and in terms of transferring messages on the network.

The interface is very simple. It has only two adjacent panes, that you can alternate with a swipe of your finger. One pane is for contact and one for conversations. There are basic controls for settings and menu on the corners. There is no possibility for calling in voice or video, which makes the interface even more simplistic.

The Embedded Browser

Kik has an embedded browser that can be launched by touching the small button on the bottom right of the interface. It can be used to view any web page on the Internet, but specially those pages that are set up by Kik users themselves, which then makes up the sort of social network within Kik. You can share any page you want with other users.

Now this brings us to a part of Kik that is a tad more techy. You can enhance your app by using the developer tool they offer. You use that to easily build your optimized web pages with content you want to share with the millions of users on the network within touches.

You can also kind of ‘follow’ other web pages and get notified through push notification whenever something noteworthy happens.

This feature is interesting for businesses and other organizations that want exposure to a large number of people.

Bottom Line

In the midst of apps like Skype, WhatsApp, Viber, WeChat and others, Kik does not really convince now, even though it is well built and does a good job with fluid communication and simplicity. It lacks certain important elements like VoIP calling. It is hard to tell how it managed to gather so a couple hundred million users. Maybe marketing worked. Will you use Kik? If you want my advice, see if your buddies use it first. I see the only reason for it to be the presence of a large number of people you already and whom you can communicate with on Kik. In the US it is quite popular, but if you are in other places where it is still in the shadows, then it is not yet time for the kick. The next question then is whether it will ever be. 

Web site: kik.com