Why talk to your friends inside a messaging app when you can talk to bots?  It is the 21st century after all.  People are out and robots are in.  Kik is leading this movement by introducing their new Bot Shop.

The Bot Shop is a new feature added to the Kik messaging app today that allows you to search for bots to chat with.

A few examples of bots that are already in use are ones developed for The Weather Channel, Vine and Funny Or Die.

Your new SkyNet friends are not the type to carry on a meaningful conversation like you would at dinner with your family.  Instead, these bots are more like a simplified Siri or Google Now experience.

When you find a bot to chat with it will give you a list of pre-determined responses.  Once you select one of these messages the bot will respond with an appropriate answer.

You know the pre-recorded answering machine voices when you call a companies’ support line? That is what these bots are.

Kik tries to explain what these bots are with this sort of cheesy commercial.  I like it though.

In Kik’s official blog post they explain why the Bot Shop was created by citing a Comscore study.

“Two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users downloaded zero apps in the last month”

Kik also mentions that their users spend roughly 35 minutes within the app per session.

It seems that their solution to the lack of downloads is to expand the features within apps by making them “smarter” and more interactive.  One way Kik is helping make bots more interactive is by allowing users to call the bot into group chats with the “@” symbol.

What makes bots attractive is that they do not require anything to be downloaded.  It is just opening up a new chat and going to it.

Chatting with The Weather Channel bot on Kik

Chatting with The Weather Channel bot on Kik

Another interesting thing about bots is that they can automatically send you messages to give you important updates like The Weather Channel bot.  You can request it to send you daily forecasts at a specific time.  This is the Google Now or Siri experience I compared it to earlier.  Instead of having Google Now cards you have Kik bot messages.

I am incredibly curious to see if having several bots sending you messages through Kik would be better for batter life than downloading the native app and getting push notifications that way.  If it increases battery life with providing the same relevant information then Kik might be on to something here.

You can download Kik on:



Windows Phone

Source : Kik official blog


Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.

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