Canadian messaging app Kik launched a Bot Shop today featuring text-command bots from a variety of partners including Funny or Die, Sephora and the Weather Channel. The announcement was made in a blog post that outlined the reasons Kik believes bots, and not apps, are the future.
The post cited a comScore study that stated two-thirds of U.S. smartphone users did not download a single app in the last month.
“We wanted to find a way to get more out of chat without adding to the clutter or detracting from the simplicity of the experience in Kik,” says the blog post, “We’ve found that bots offer a great low-friction way to do that.”
The shop opened with 16 bots offering a diverse mix of activities. Among the bots are choose-your-own-adventure games, makeup tutorial helpers and video mashup makers.
The shop is available in the app by tapping on the search magnifying glass and clicking “Find People,” or by visiting bots.kik.com.
Along with the shop, Kik added two new features. Web bubbles or ‘wubbles’ improve the display of rich media in conversation threads. The new mentions feature allows you to call a bot in to your conversation thread by mentioning it with an @.
Kik also revamped its ‘suggested responses’ feature to allow you to select options in conversation with a bot without having to type, as well as use the whole keyboard space.
For developers looking to create their own bot, Kik has released its bot API at dev.kik.com.
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