After the recent announcement of a merger with Korea’s second-largest internet portal Daum, chat app maker Kakao is now increasing its emphasis on experimenting with new features.

The company just launched a Google Labs-style Kakao Lab on the Android version of Kakao Talk. After updating the app, you should be able to access Kakao Lab through the Kakao Talk settings menu. Users who want to test the features can turn them on in the Kakao Lab menu.

Kakao Lab 1 730x620 Kakao Talk adds a lab to its Android chat app to let users beta test new features

Kakao says that the features available in Kakao Lab will be fine-tuned based on user feedback, paving the way for them to eventually become permanent features. Two prototype features making their debut are ‘Keyword Alerts’ and ‘Move Unread Chatrooms to Top’ — the former lets users disable new group chat alerts but still receive notifications for messages that have certain keywords in them, while the latter moves all chatrooms with unread messages to the top of the chat screen.

Image Kakao Lab Unread Chatrooms 730x562 Kakao Talk adds a lab to its Android chat app to let users beta test new features

 

The experimental features aren’t all that ground-breaking, but Kakao’s move to let users test them out and get feedback in return probably lets users feel more involved — which bodes well for engagement in the chat app.

With the latest Android update of Kakao Talk, users will also get their hands on a new search chat feature, previously available only on its Windows PC client. It allows users to search through any conversation by keyword and find all relevant messages sent or received in that particular chatroom in reverse chronological order.

An iOS version of Kakao Lab is also currently in the works.

➤ Kakao Talk | Google Play