KakaoTalk has launched its first desktop client for Mac, which is currently available in Korean and English. The release, which can potentially help South Korea’s top messaging service score more users, comes less than a week after Kakao Corp and Daum, one of the country’s largest Internet portals, announced that they will merge, creating a company with a 3.4 trillion won (about $2.9 billion) market cap.
In addition to its Mac client, the company also added a new search feature to its desktop client KakaoTalk for Windows, which allows users to look for keywords within a chatroom in reverse chronological order.
Like desktop clients by KakaoTalk’s competitors, including Viber and Line, KakaoTalk for Mac and Windows syncs between mobiles and desktop computers. In its press release, Kakao said that it will add the ability to search chats and send files soon to its Mac version. The search feature will also be added to mobile apps later this year.
The merger of Kakao and Daum, which will create one of South Korea’s largest Internet companies, puts KakaoTalk in a better position to compete against Naver, South Korea’s largest Internet portal and the maker of Line, which is aiming for one billion users by the end of 2015. Line had about 400 million users as of April, compared to KakaoTalk’s 145 million.
KakaoTalk for Windows is currently available in Korean, English, and Japanese, while the Mac version is in Korean and English. In order to compete with Line, KakaoTalk will have to attract more international users. As Danny Crichton noted earlier this week, major messaging apps like KakaoTalk, WeChat, Line, Kik, and Skype were all developed outside of the U.S., while Mountain View-based WhatsApp has a much wider userbase overseas than in the U.S.