Chat App Kik Adds Native Video In Step Towards More Interactive Content

Mobile messaging app Kik has added native video capture to its service as it lays the groundwork to offer more interactive content options for its 200 million registered users.

An update to Kik for iOS and Android today now lets users record videos of up to 15 seconds from inside their chat windows. The feature includes a full-screen playback option, and videos will loop continuously.

The new addition is pretty smooth, but video capture is a standard part of any communications service these days.

Kik Video SMKik — which offers a sophisticated in-chat browser for sharing web content — admits it is playing catch up here.

Now that it has established its own video platform as a base, however, the Canada-based company plans to go forth and be more creative. Or, at least, offer its users the chance to unleash new shades of creativity on its service.

That’s according to Joe Rideout, Kik’s product manager for video and content, who joined the company when it acquired his GIF messaging startup Relay last year.

(That deal gives you an idea of what Kik might have planned.)

Rideout admitted that there is plenty of scope for Kik to develop video-related services but, for now, it is “staying focused and working on the highest priorities.”

“We saw native video as an immediate need that had to be met,” he told TechCrunch in an interview. “[There’s] a lot of tech that can be brought over [from Relay]… we plan to really explore all different kinds of content formats, starting with more traditional short-form video with audio.”

Third-party Kik apps will let you send GIFs to friends on Kik, but it makes sense for the company to offer something more native — perhaps a way to create your own GIFs directly. That would chime nicely with its youth-focused audience in North America, which is the very demographic with the highest appreciation of GIFs and other kinds of new media. GoPop, the interesting app that BuzzFeed recently snapped up (and is sadly closing down), is a good example of what can be done with moving images.

Kik is not planning to follow Snapchat’s move into third-party media and content, but CEO and co-founder Ted Livingston has already said it will introduce a payments service at some point this year. Maybe you’ll be able to GIF your money to a friend… who knows what’s possible in this brave new mobile messaging world.

Yes, that is a joke. But if Snapchat can go from sexting app to reputable media platform, then, seriously, anything is possible.