Is Kik The Wave of Instant Messaging Future?

kik

People are able to communicate faster, easier, and in more diverse ways than ever before. Social media has given every individual a public platform, and the Internet provides many other avenues for online group discussion. However, one type of communication that will always be important is direct conversation.

Instant messaging services provide individuals with the ability to converse across time zones and distances. The ability to share ideas with other individuals from all across the world means personal relationships can be formed regardless of proximity.

Kik Messenger is one of the most popular instant messaging apps in North America, with over 300 million users. It is one of the industry leaders in providing a medium for online chats, sharing pictures and videos, and other forms of messaging. It stands out from its competition mainly because of its dedication to anonymity, a feature which is especially attractive for online communication.

Kik Interactive

The company behind Kik is motivated by the power of smartphones to connect people. Recognizing the potential for communication through smartphones, the small group of university students who founded Kik Interactive believed that the future of communication is in mobile devices, not desktops.

Given its massive success, one might expect Silicon Valley to be the birthplace of Kik. Instead, its roots are found at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The company was formed in 2009, and released the Kik Messenger app in 2010.

Founder

Ted Livingston is the founder and CEO of Kik. He was born and raised in Toronto, and studied mechatronics at the University of Waterloo. While in school, he worked for Research in Motion, the company that is best known for developing the BlackBerry phones.

Instead of completing his degree, Livingston founded Kik. Initially developed as a cross-platform messaging app that would allow people with different smartphones to easily message each other, the app was removed by BlackBerry. Livingston persevered through this obstacle and managed to create one of the most successful messaging services in the world.

History

Kik Interactive was created in 2009, although the Kik Messenger app was not introduced until October of 2010. Although BlackBerry would remove the app from its platform in the same year, its success was instantaneous. In its first 15 days, Kik attracted over 1 million users.

Kik has attracted several large venture capitalist investors. In November of 2014, the company managed to raise approximately $38.3 million, bringing its total to over $70 million. Even more importantly, Chinese investment company Tencent invested $50 million into Kik on August 16, 2015. This was notable not only because Tencent is also the owner of WeChat, China’s most popular messaging service, but also because it brought Kik’s valuation to the $1 billion mark. In total, the company raised over $120 million.

In the future, Livingston hopes the Kik will become the WeChat of the western hemisphere. This would include further improvements in making the app all-inclusive as well as improving bot technology.

How it Works

Kik is a simple messaging service that is free and easy to sign up for. It is an app that is compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It is not currently set up for desktop use, as its main focus is communication through mobile devices.

All that is required to register is a first name, last name, birth date, and email address. Then, users need to find a username. If desired, a profile picture can be added as well. Phone numbers are not required.

Using Kik is just as easy as signing up. The app can even scan the smartphone’s contacts and connect to contacts with a Kik account, if permission is granted. Other contacts can be found by searching for usernames.

Chatting on Kik offers much more than simple text. It features a straightforward design that allows users to send text, pictures, videos, and more.

Anonymity

The main feature that distinguishes Kik from other popular messaging services like Facebook Messenger is its anonymity. Kik users can only be found through their unique username. This means that their first name, last name, and email addresses are not subject to searches. In fact, even the company itself is unable to find accounts except through the account username.

This anonymity is a feature that has both made the app very appealing to users and criticized for safety reasons. Some critics argue that the lack of identification, including the lack of verification for names and birth dates, makes the app more appealing to predators.

Versatility

Kik allows users to communicate in ways that go far beyond simple texts, although that is one of its main uses. It can be used to share photos, videos, memes, and even drawings. This wide variety of ways to communicate on the app make Kik attractive for anyone.

In-App Browser

In addition to the anonymity of Kik accounts and the wide variety of messages that can be sent, Kik features a fully functional web browser. This enables users to stay in the app while finding videos online, nearby restaurants, or finding anything else online. This makes Kik a more inclusive and user-friendly app. WeChat in China offers a similar feature.

Popularity

Kik is one of North America’s most popular messaging services, along with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. It has approximately 300 million users as of summer 2016, a 60-million increase compared to summer of 2015. Its popularity has been immense since its inception, with over 1 million users signing up in the first 15 days.

More specifically, Kik is extremely popular with young people. With its ability to be used over Wi-Fi without the need for a phone number, it is popular for teens who use iPods instead of smartphones. It is estimated that around 40% of US youth use the messaging app.

Conclusion

Kik is a messaging app that began in the shadows of Waterloo-based Research in Motion, but has since grown to be a formidable presence in the instant messaging industry. Starting with little more than $25 000 in 2010, the company grew to a billion-dollar valuation by 2015. The number of registered users has continued to grow, reaching 300 million in 2016.

Its popularity can be attributed to features that make it uniquely attractive. While it offers a wide variety of message types, such as text, pictures, videos, sketches, and memes, it is also anonymous. This means that the only way to locate users is through their username, as even the names required to register are not verified.

It is a free, fun, and easy app to use to connect with people all over the world. While there are dangers involved in any form of online communication, Kik is an incredibly useful app if properly used.


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