If you’ve been on Facebook at all these past few weeks, you might have noticed many of your friends’ status updates asking you to “kik” them. For the uninitiated, Kik is the recently re-launched cross-platform messenger service for smartphone users – free real-time texting for all. The platform is similar in a lot of ways to the popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service – allowing for easy text message-like communications between your contacts. Within the first two weeks of its re-launch, Kik already has about 600,000 new users.
The application’s concept is simple. Once you’ve created your account, the application checks your address book and suggests friends that you may know who have already downloaded it. Like instant messaging, the service is asynchronous, which means that Kik lets you see messages almost instantly, as well as notifying you when the person is typing a message. Much like BBM, Kik also lets you know when the message was sent, delivered, and read by showing an S, D, or R next to the message you just typed.
The one thing that BBM users have come to love so much about the BlackBerry service, no extra cost in using it. It’s a free text messaging platform if you will. This is the biggest advantage (so far) with Kik – it’s free and smartphone agnostic. What this really means is that Kik has the potential to replace text messaging plans – saving the end user a few bucks a month and possibly hundreds of dollars a year depending on the users particular text messaging plan. Shhh, don’t let your mobile carrier know about it
We did say so far. Provided that Kik can build out its community, the possibilities of the program are endless. Lead developers have indicated that later versions of the viral messaging app could contain features such as streaming music or videos from one phone to another, or taping into your phones camera and allowing other users to see what your camera sees.
As the community grows we’ll start to see some of the aforementioned enhancements. In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Get Kik-ing!