Kik’s Chatbot Store will Let Brands Talk to You
Messaging app Kik has launched a “chatbot store” that will let brands create bots to talk to users.
The store will allow any developer to build bots that can chat to users and send them information, links and entertainment.
Brands such as the Weather Channel have already partnered with Kik to provide users with weather information, and users can request Vines on any topic from an app developed by Twitter. H&M, Funny or Die and Sephora are also amongst the first brands to sign up.
Speaking to AdWeek, Kik’s head of messaging services Mark Roberts said that “messengers are the new browser and bots are the new websites”.
“I think bots will help apps evolve,” he said. “I use things like Photoshop to do art and Premier to do video editing, and I don’t think I’ll ever move those experiences onto the phone in my pocket. Likewise, I think there are classes of experiences in apps today that are better suited for bots. There is no need for 100 apps on my home screen.”
The comments mirror those made by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earlier this month, when he described bots as “the new apps”, with Facebook anticipated to make a similar announcement later in the month.
Microsoft has already opened a chatbot store – but things haven’t gone altogether smoothly for them. Tay, a ‘millennial chatbot’ unleashed on Twitter by Microsoft, was quickly deactivated after it started parroting racist remarks sent to it by enterprising trolls.
Kik will hope to avoid this kind of trolling, though – it will be vetting any bots before they make it to the Kik store.
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