When a software company knows users love its app for its simplicity and speed, it must be something of a challenge to roll out updates with new features without complicating matters and clogging up the interface. Kik, which until Thursday hadn’t introduced any changes to its multi-platform instant messaging smartphone app since March 2011 when it included group chat for iOS and Android users, appears to have found a way, however.
With Kik Cards, users can now easily send YouTube videos to their Kik contacts, as well as images and simple sketches drawn by your own fair hand (or more accurately, finger).
To maintain the app’s simple interface, however, developers have introduced a small tab on the left of the screen to gain access to the new features, creating something like an app within an app. If you don’t want the new features, ignore the tab and continue with Kik as you did before.
To get started with Cards, you need to drag the tab across the screen and then hit ‘more’. This pull up the three Cards (YouTube, Images and Sketches) – simply tap on the ones you want to use. This pulls them into your Cards menu on the left of the screen.
With the YouTube Card, for example, you can search videos on the streaming site and watch them within the app. When you find one you like, tap on the Kik icon on the top right of the screen, choose who you want to receive it from among your contacts, add some text and send it on its merry way. The Cards improve Kik’s overall functionality and serve to keep users within the app, helping to make the experience more fluid.
It’s expected that Kik will add more Cards in the future, with sponsored Cards also likely as the company seeks to secure a revenue stream. But before you roll your eyes thinking that your instant messaging app of choice is about to be flooded by a slew of businesses pushing their wares, remember – if you’re not interested in the Card being offered, simply don’t add it to your list.
Kik Messenger, which launched in 2010, now has 30 million users, with some 100,000 people signing up daily.