If you’re an active Kik user, how often do you take advantage of the app’s well-designed web client? For most users, the answer is “not often enough.” We’ve reached a point in the digital age where nearly all of our web activity can be carried in our pocket. They browse, they capture, and they even speak to us. The capabilities of smartphones have made them all but a must-own device, and yet they still serve that primary function–keeping us in touch with other people–as their foremost purpose. No matter which platform you use–Android, iPhone, or Windows phone–the available app market is flooded with chat and messenger apps. It can be difficult to know which will serve your needs best.
One of the wonders of Kik Messenger is its versatility. At its foundation, it’s a rock-solid messenger that’s being used by millions of people and is also embraced by many third-party developers, artists, production companies, and businesses that recognize its usefulness in reaching a wide, connected audience. However, one of Kik’s most versatile features is the web browser that’s built right into the application itself. Added to the app in 2014, it has received numerous updates since. Using this excellent tool, users can browse the web for any type of media that they’d like to share, and then bring it to their various contacts without ever leaving Kik itself.
Handy, right? You might not know just how handy it is until you give it a whirl, but consider first how cumbersome it can be to flash back to your mobile device’s home screen, boot up an app, copy a link, go back to the home screen, before finally returning to your messenger app with whatever you wanted to share with your network of contacts. That multi-step process is both messy and outdated, not suitable for the ease of access that modern smartphones and tablet computers give us.
With the built-in browser for Kik, the endless sea of internet media is at your fingertips. From the browser, you can:
- Share a news story
- Link music
- Help an interesting media post to go viral
- Share you favorite artwork or images
- Spread valuable information
Considering the wealth of activities that happens in a web browser, I could spend the entirety of this piece listing the various things that Kik’s built-in browser allows you to do. Having an accessible web client within the app itself is invaluable. The best part? It’s just as easy to use as any other mobile-based browser!
Platform Doesn’t Matter
Like other mobile versions of popular web browsers–such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Opera–the Kik browser is fast, lightweight, and non-intrusive. It’s also perfectly functional on any platform that can host the Kik Messenger app and features the same practically the same interface, no matter which operating system your device uses. More than most other types of personal technology, we replace our smartphones fairly often! Changing over from Android to iOS, or vice versa? Relying on Kik for your chat and browsing purposes will give you the same experience on both platforms.
Rather than simply acting as another browser option, Kik’s interface renders websites into a more shareable format. Some web developers have used Kik tools to specially optimize their site to be more easily shared through Kik. No matter the content, though the onboard browser makes it easier to share that media through your messaging.
The one caveat to this–and it’s hardly a drawback, so much as an expandable feature–is that Kik doesn’t currently have an application that runs on native Windows or Mac environments, such as they exist on laptop and desktop computers. This is an easy hurdle to overcome thank to Android emulation, and you can follow my simple, handy guide to getting Kik running on a computer.
That’s not to say that the Kik Messenger app’s built-in browser doesn’t require a little bit of finesse to learn. Because it’s part of a chat application, it doesn’t mimic the behavior and interface of other, standalone browsers. Instead, it presents itself in a form that’s clean and minimalistic–excellent for sharing media with a minimal number of swipes and pushes.
Accessing Kik’s Browser
Though you can certainly play around in Kik’s browser to learn the ins and outs of how it works, knowing a few simple things before delving in can make your experience both easier and more intuitive. After all, who wants to spend time troubleshooting when you can get back to your chats that much quicker?
The icon that gives you access to the Kik browser can be found in either the top right or bottom right of the Kik application window. Tapping the small “globe” icon will bring up a new window with the title “Kik Browser” at the top. This is the landing for all of your browsing activities within the app. As this is an active web page, you can even browse it from your computer, outside of the Kik application.
Immediately, you’ll see a few different areas to explore, especially if this is your first time using the Kik browser. Your experience will always start at “home.kik.com,” but will branch off from there into a plethora of Kik-optimized websites. When you wish to return to the chat portion of the Kik application, you can simply select “Done” at the top of the window, or press the small X next to the current URL.
There are two obvious ways to proceed, and explore the Kik browser:
- Discover more web pages through the Kik directory
- Search for websites using keywords and familiar titles
Since both of these function a little bit different than your typical web browser, we’ll explore both. By the time we’re finished, swiping through web pages and sharing much-loved internet gems with your contacts will be a simple business.
Discover More Webpages With Kik
The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.- Bill Gates
The most prominent link on the Kik browser landing is right in the middle of it: “Discover more web pages.” This aptly titled link will bring you to a numerically ordered list of popular and useful Kik-optimized sites, popular amongst the application’s millions of users.
At the top of the list is a recently-added feature called “Kik Points.” By completing limited time offers that help Kik to become a better experience for all of its users (such as providing feedback, or inviting more friends) you can earn Kik points that accumulate on your profile. These points can be used to purchase emoji and other graphics, which will add flair to any Kik experience. The next step down that pre-generated list of websites is the “Kik Smiley Shop,” which is one of the more prominent places to spend your Kik points. Use them to pick up new emoji and graphics for your chat experience. This
Continuing down the list, your experience will branch out into various social media and games that Kik’s millions of users regularly partake in. Though this is a very guided, on-rails browsing experience, it will give you a healthy sampling of content that other Kik users frequently visit. From image searches to make-a-meme applications, you can count on this option to provide multitudes of avenues by which to start your Kik browsing experience.
Search for Webpages with Kik
If you prefer a little more freedom in your searching, you can head in a different direction from the Kik browser’s landing site. You can input any search keywords into the browser, and generate your own results. Feel free to let your interests guide you; the wide variety of Kik-optimized websites won’t leave you wanting, and remains just as intuitive as Kik’s pre-generated list of popular web pages. Fetching a song from Soundcloud was a breeze, and using an Imgur search tool gave me a smorgasbord of image-based media, all ready to share. Need a wealth of random information and topics, particular to the day of your search? Use the Kik-optimized Reddit listing to browse recent posts on the popular discussion forum.
While it won’t replace all of your regular browsing activities–especially if you’re using an Android emulator to run Kik on Windows or Mac–it will help you to streamline media that you intend to share. Those web pages that have been shaped to run best through the application will always crop up first in your search results, but this isn’t without reason! Kik pushes content that’s widely popular, which makes it worth a glance if it shows up in your searching.
Share the Web With Your Friends
No other application lets you share the web so easily. Whether you happen upon some of Kik’s featured content that your contacts need to see, or if you’re looking to share a particular internet gem, the Kik Messenger browser doesn’t have any like competition in the app marketplace. Many of the app’s millions of users let their guided search terms lead them to people with similar interests. Suddenly, you can find yourself with an entire community niche that you might not otherwise have found.
Users looking for web-based games will find plenty to enjoy, as well. Even a cursory glance at some of the most popular Kik browser sites reveals popular mobile games. Simple, pick-up-and-play titles play best on mobile devices, and Kik’s browser can bring them to your fingertips that much quicker.
It’s an odd coincidence, but the greater privacy offered by Kik not requiring your phone number can actually result in a more social web browsing experience. Since your Kik user profile is only tethered to your unique username and e-mail, you can worry less about your information being compromised in any of your internet activity. There’s a sense of safety there, and it’s an uncommon feature both in messaging apps as well as mobile browsers. Try using the Kik web client the next time you’re perusing social media, and see how it feels to connect your chat to your internet experience.