Ontario-based Kik has built a browser into its popular app, setting out to prove that it can do more with mobile messaging than facilitate the exchange of emojis and stickers.
Wednesday, the 4-year-old company, which hit 100 million registered users in December, launched Kik Browser. The new release includes an URL and search bar that members can use to visit any Web site while inside the messaging app.
The company said the move makes its app the first smartphone messenger to come with a built-in browser.
With the browser addition, a person could, from within Kik, visit a site such as SoundCloud.com, play a song, and then share the song with a Kik friend, all without being taken away from the app and ported over to a smartphone browser. Members can search for whatever they want, like games, and view a prioritized list of games they can play in the application.
The release, CEO Ted Livingston told CNET, is primarily designed for developers. The company hopes to encourage app-makers to add a little additional code to their Web pages to optimize their sites for Kik. The pitch to developers, said Livingston, is simple: "We make your app better and you make our app better."
Kik's audience is growing by 275,000 new people per day and the company claims to be all the rage with US teens, which means the service's pitch to developers could be a rather compelling one.