Dec 12, 2013 · 1 minute

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post arguing that Kik, a mobile browser disguised as a chat app, is the dark horse of the Internet. Now, some updates from the Waterloo, Ontario-based company:

  • Kik has now passed 100 million registered users.
  • Kik "cards" – which are HTML5 Web apps, like the game "Costume Party" and Zynga's "1 Word" – have been visited installed 145 million times. There are so far only 32 such cards in existence. They have been around since November last year.
  • 83 percent of those cards are discovered virally, through one-to-one sharing.
And, just look at Kik's interest growth, as measured by Google Trends (and spotted by Benedict Evans):

Kik Google Trends 1

See where the graph starts climbing steeply? That's when Kik launched its HTML5 platform.

Zooming in on interest trends over the last year, you can see Kik got another boost at the time it finished building out that platform, in April.

Kik Google Trends 2

WhatsApp. Facebook Messenger. Google Hangouts. Line. KakaoTalk. Viber. WeChat. Nimbuzz. Tango. Couple. MessageMe. Voxer. Snapchat. Instagram Direct. Twitter direct messages.

Messaging is a commodity. Even the gaming and flirting apps know that. Chat has been reduced to a layer.

A platform, however, is the opposite. A platform is an ecosystem. A platform is a differentiator. And a platform takes time to build.

Kik is showing just what a difference it makes.

[Photo by Ewan Munro]