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Yahoo targets teens with news, weather, and virtual pet bots for Kik messaging app

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Yahoo is not going to let an imminent $3 billion buyout stop it from attracting more users to its web services.

The struggling internet giant has launched a trio of bots for the Kik messaging app. The move brings both Yahoo News and Yahoo weather, both already available in the form of their own respective apps, to Kik’s bot store. Additionally, Yahoo has also launched a completely original bot in the form of MonkeyPets — more about that later.

Yahoo's MonkeyPets bot
Yahoo’s MonkeyPets bot

If you’ve never heard of Kik that’s probably because you’re either not a millennial or simply don’t have any friends to chat with. Hold on, come back, that was a joke — we’re sure you’re extremely popular IRL (if you don’t get the acronym, the first part of our statement still holds true). Here’s the deal: Kik was launched in 2009 and now claims to have 300 million users in 230 countries around the globe. The app is predominantly used by teens — an impressive 40 percent of teens in the U.S. to be precise.

Now to get back to those bots that everyone is so obsessed with. Once downloaded, the Yahoo Weather bot will provide you with daily forecasts for your selected city, complete with photos from Flickr. You can also view the weather conditions in multiple cities, and (if you want to be the least coolest kid in town) share weather cards with your friends on Kik. The Yahoo News bot, on the other hand, brings the Yahoo News Digest experience to the chat service, sending you trending news stories based on your command inputs (i.e., “Brexit” will offer alerts on Britain’s upcoming EU referendum). Additional options include the ability to receive updated alerts twice a day.

“We were promised monkeys,” we hear you say. Yes, of course, you must be referring to what Kik terms “the real news,” as in the arrival of Yahoo’s very own virtual pet bot. Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about this cute little primate that bears more than a passing resemblance to that ’90s toy fad known as Tamagotchi. MonkeyPets basically makes you the proud owner of virtual monkey, which you can raise by feeding it food emojis (we’re told it’s particularly fond of the banana, and ice cream sundae emoji). As it grows, your pet monkey will also send you photos from its international travels, so be prepared for some vacation envy. All three Yahoo bots are available to download on the Kik bot shop right now.

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