The world of instant messaging apps is more competitive everyday. Most people who use chat applications on their smart phones or any other compatible mobile device have now realized that using them is far better than traditional text messaging. There are many popular instant messaging application. Probably the two more popular of such apps are Kik Messenger and WhatsApp.
In this article we are going to look at both chat apps in a lot of detail, trying to compare them as much as possible. We will be looking at what makes them both similar, in terms of features, for example, and what sets them apart as competitive chat platforms.
Why Use Chat Applications?
“I like chatting with people. If people ask me a direct question, I give them a direct answer and I feel I’ve always done that with the press.”- Keifer Sutherland
Some people may ask themselves whether there is any need to download a chat or an instant messaging application. The reason for this is that, of course, all smart phones come equipped with a messaging service. It is what is often called SMS or text messaging. So, why get WhatsApp or the Kik Messenger app when, after all, you already seem to be able to do everything they do with your smart phone as it is without any additional downloads?
This is, of course, a valid doubt and if you cannot find an answer yourself maybe you would be better off using the service your smart phone offers. If, however, you are not sure how to answer the question and would like a little bit more of guidance on whether chat or instant messaging applications are worthy, you have definitely come to the right place. In this article we will give you some guidance on this kind of apps, particularly going into the advantages of using one of such apps. After we have done that, we will go into what sets them both apart. Of course there are other mobile chat platforms available but today we will just discuss WhatsApp and the Kik Messenger app.
So, first of all let’s look at instant messaging apps more generally. While it is true that some of the main features that those apps offer their users are the same or very similar to the ones available for your smart phone SMS service, there are some key differences worth considering. If you are just looking to sending text messages, images, or video, your basic text messaging service might do the trick. However, you may want to consider costs. Depending on your plan, you may be charged for sending and receiving text messages. Instant messaging apps, on the other hand, rely on the Internet, so as long as you stay within your data plan and make sure that you are always connected to a valid Wi Fi networks, you should be able to use their texting services without worrying about costs.
But we have just talked about the most basic function: sending and receiving text (or video or picture) messages. This is really all you can expect to be able to do with your smart phone SMS service. If, however, you are interesting in more features, then you will probably find this service lacking and will benefit from using an instant messaging app. In the next sections we will be exploring the main features of both the Kik Messenger app and WhatsApp so you can see what they would both offer. But first, let’s talk about privacy a little bit.
To Give Your Phone Number, Or Not To Give Your Phone Number?
One of the disadvantages of using your smart phone’s text messaging service is that you have to give out your telephone number to people so that they can send your text messages. Now, you may be comfortable giving your telephone number to people or not but, if you are concerned at all about your privacy you may want to consider this carefully.
- When it comes to the Kik Messenger app and WhatsApp this is one of the main differences between them. You do not need to give anybody your telephone number in order to chat using the Kik Messenger app. However, if you use WhatsApp, you will always have to exchange telephone numbers with the people you are intended to use the app with. For some people this could be a deal breaker. For others it simply means that they use WhatsApp with certain contacts and the Kik Messenger app with others.
Of course, when you sign up to the Kik Messenger app you will also be asked to provide some personal information but this will not include your telephone number. You will have to add to email address. Some people are a bit thrown back by this but there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. The reason why the Kik Messenger app requires users to enter their email afraid for signing up is actually for your own security. By giving Kik Messenger your email address you will be in charge and will be able to cancel your account at any time you would so wish. Your email address will also be used to make you searchable by your existing contacts but only (and this is important) if you decide to do so. We are talking of a handy feature known as “address book matching”. If you select to use that feature on the Kik Messenger settings, your contacts would be able to find you and add you as a Kik friend and, in turn, you will be able to find those among your contacts that use the Kik Messenger app, too. But, even if you choose to turn on “Book Address Matching”, your email address will never be revealed to other Kik Messenger users. All that will happen is that your contacts who use “Book Address Matching” will be able to find your user name on Kik.
Kik Messenger works with user names. So, when you first sign up to the app you will be asked to come up with a unique user name. You can choose anything you would like (as long as nobody else has already taken it). Your user name does not have to bear any resemblance or give any clues about your real identity. So, if you concerned about privacy Kik Messenger is one of the best instant messaging apps you could choose. This is not to say that WhatsApp does not take its users’ privacy seriously; it obviously does. The difference is that the people you would chat with on WhatsApp will know your full name and telephone number, whereas those you would chat with on Kik Messenger would only know your chosen user name.
How About Costs?
Cost is something else that, rightly, worries some (perhaps most) people. The great thing about any instant messaging app is that, compared to your smart phone’s SMS service, they do not use any cellular data necessarily. As long as you are connected to a Wi Fi network, you should be able to send and receive as many messages as you would like.
Now, how about the Kik Messenger app and WhatsApp?
- Well, the Kik Messenger app is completely free to download, install, and use. There is absolutely no subscription at all.
- When it comes to WhatsApp, the situation gets just a smidge more complicated. Depending on when you downloaded the app you might have gotten it for free, i.e., no download fee and no subscription. If you have been doing WhatsApp for years then that is probably the case for you. If, however, you have downloaded the app more recently (or are thinking of doing so know), you may still be able to download and install it for free but may be expected to pay a small annual subscription fee on your first anniversary with the app and every subsequent year.
Features, Features, Features…
So, now that we have gone through the issues around privacy and costs, let’s end this article talking about features.
- Both the Kik Messenger app and WhatsApp share many features. With both apps, you will be able to send and receive instant messages, share video and pictures, share memes, etc. You will also be able to have group chats, so that you can chat to more than one person at the same time.
But this is where the similarities end. The Kik Messenger app has a lot for features designed to make the experience of using the chat app more fun and to enhance your chats. Apart from lots of emojis (which you will also find on WhatsApp and other apps), the Kik Messenger app offers lots of fun stickers and Kik bots. Kik bots are a fairly new development but they have become so popular that we know other instant messaging apps have started to pay attention. Basically, bots are “users” you can interact with for different reasons. There are many different kinds of bots depending on what you are after. If you want to check out the news without leaving the Kik Messenger app, there are bots for that; if you want to check out your local weather, there are also bots for that; there are also bots that tell you jokes, or give you make up or fashion advice.
In this article we have just gone over the main pros and cons of choosing either the Kik Messenger app or WhatsApp. Of course, there are differences so why don’t you leave a comment with your view on whether Kik Messenger is better than WhatsApp or vice versa?