Kik announced a fairly significant change in direction at the end of November, with the introduction of Kik Cards. Essentially, Cards are lightweight HTML5 applets that Kik users can employ to share content and play games with one another, directly within their Kik message stream. Today, the company revealed to TechCrunch that over 2 million of its 30 million total users had already used Cards within one week of the feature’s launch, and introduced an update to its apps which brings a mobile-optimized Reddit browsing experience to the messaging service.
Kik’s Reddit card is actually a remarkable achievement in a number of ways: first, it manages to be a much more enjoyable way to browse Reddit on iOS or Android smartphones than Reddit’s own website, and second, it was built essentially over the course of a week by a single one of Kik’s native app developers working on his own. It stands as proof that what Cards offers is a way for developers and brands to reach a broad audience quickly and with minimal effort, according to Kik founder and CEO Ted Livingston.
“One of our native developers comes to me and says “I made this,” and it’s Reddit,” Livingston said. “It was crazy, he was just like ‘I built this in a weekend,’ and we said take a week and make it perfect and we’ll put it in the app.” The feat is more impressive, Livingston says, since he wasn’t even a web developer, but a native dev working on a simple side project.
Using the Reddit Card feels a lot like using an iOS native app, and you don’t actually even have to have Kik installed to see what I mean. Like all of Kik’s Cards, the Reddit one is essentially a mobile website, but one that uses the development platform they’ve created to come as close to a native-feeling app as possible, meaning you can visit it by going to http://reddit.kik.com in your device’s mobile browser. As you can see, by default Kik includes a number of subreddits, but you can also add your own manually.
Kik’s big picture move here is starting to come into focus – this isn’t a feature add, it’s a platform play, and one that could help Kik reinvent itself as a mobile-first social networking app long before services that started on the desktop are able to complete the turn. It’s still early to call Kik’s move into Cards a success, but we’ll be watching to see how adoption continues to chart over longer periods.