March 7, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Kik Messenger, the cross-platform instant messaging app similar to BBM, has updated to include groups and photo sharing. Though Kik suffered a major blow when RIM BlackBerry support was blocked, today’s new features go a long way in encouraging adoption among the Android and iPhone users still able to access the messaging app.
Kik adds the ability to communicate in groups, an important feature to have for any messaging app. However, Kik hopes to be less of a “mobile message board” and create more selective group chats. So while some apps may require that you speak to the entire group at once, Kik will let you speak to just Amy, Brad, and Charles rather than also including David, Eve, and Fiona. Users can start a new conversation by tapping one name, and then press the icon in the top-right corner to add more people. Everyone in a group chat must have the latest version of Kik.
Starting today, users can share photos in the middle of a conversation. During chats, users can take a photo and have it upload quickly to their friends’ screens. Tap the “+” sign in the bottom left and corner and click “Take a picture” to bring up your camera app.
Kik reached the million-user landmark faster than all the other Android messaging apps, but it included only messaging. This will make it more appealing for people deciding between Kik, Beluga, PingChat, LiveProfile, and WhatsApp. Download if you have Android 1.5 or higher and your friends with the app will be waiting for you.