BlackBerry Cool and Techvibes were reporting today that messaging upstart Kik was taken out of the BlackBerry App World (it isn’t back yet), which makes people wonder: why? Did RIM consider the gone-viral app a threat to BBM and kill it? Was it the privacy concerns that many have raised (and Kik says they are fixing)? My guess would probably something of the latter as well as stability/scaling problems that Kik has been having.
All this said, I deleted Kik from my iPhone and I have no plans to add it back until they fix a few things and even then I still have questions.
What do they need to fix?
Auto-trolling through my address book
Every few hours I’d hear a little ping on my iPhone and see a message from Kik wondering if I knew so and so and maybe I should message them. There are two big problems with this:
- To add the person, if I know them at all, I have to chat with them. I don’t want to bug the person just to add them to my Kik address book. Why not just have a button: Add them to your address book?
- I have thousands of people in my address book. I don’t need or want Kik to pick them for me. I want to match their list against my list and add who I want.
Why can’t I just go through my Twitter friends, Facebook friends, and email contact in one fell swoop and pick who I know (and want to talk with) in one shot? I’m not big on just firing off a message to someone saying: “Hey you should use Kik!” because their response will likely lead to…
Yet Another Message System (YAMS)
I will give props to Kik for creating a fast, simple, basic messaging tool. Here’s the problem, if I wanted to use it I have to ask myself: How is this better than email or SMS on my iPhone? If I sent the invite to my wife, she might install it (and probably only because I asked) and then never use it.
The problem is that while Kik might be experiencing huge viral growth—it doesn’t solve a problem that we are having.
SMS, email, IM … they work great. Even with Facebook re-tooling its Messaging system, that’s a viable option and all with tools and services we already use. I’m all for new startups and Canadian companies, but I’m sorry I think Kik is a fad and it’s not going to last on its own.