Roughly a month after announcing their merger with Daum, one of South Korea?s largest internet portals, app maker Kakao now appears to be focusing their energies on feature innovation. With a recent Kakaotalk update to their Android app, the company has launched Kakao Lab ? a tool that allows users to participate in testing new features before they are officially added.
Kakao Lab is a curious case as it doesn?t only give Kakaotalk users access to new features beforehand, it will also let Kakao carry out large-scale beta tests to gauge how new features perform. If you will remember, microblogging site Twitter released a similar program in 2013 called ?Twitter for Android Experiment Program.?
According to Kakao, the features within Kakao Lab will be modified depending on feedback it will get from users, which will ultimately become permanent fixtures to the app if enough positive feedback and bug fixes have been implemented. To allow users to become part of the Kakao Lab beta tests, they need to sign up for it by going to the settings menu within the Kakaotalk app.
The two prototype additions to be introduced with this Kakaotalk update are ?Keyword Alerts,? previously supported only on the app?s Windows PC version, and ?Move Unread Chatrooms to Top.? The latter gives the option to move chatrooms containing unread messages to the top portion of the messenger display. The former should be able to deactivate alerts for group chats, but will allow users to be notified if messages containing pre-determined keywords are received.
While this trial move by Kakao is not that ground-breaking, their intention of involving users to test new features before rollout and giving them the chance to air feedback may probably make up for it. In a recent press release, Kakao noted that ?Although the features are experimental and may be removed at any time, full implementation, as well as modifications, will be based on user response.?
Here is the official changelog of the new Kakaotalk update, Version 4.5.0 as it appears on Google Play:
- Search your chats from the chatroom
- Added Kakao Lab menu
- Receive alerts for keywords you have set
- See unread chatrooms at the top of the chatrooms list
- Send up to 20 photos at once
- Support for Arabic
- Other bug fixes and stability improvements
Whatever feedback they may gather, there?s no denying that this Kakaotalk update reflects Kakao?s aim of enticing and retaining users. In May, Kakao announced that their game subscriptions have exceeded the 500 million mark, signaling their continued growth despite facing stiff competition from Line and WeChat. Meanwhile, an iOS version with the same features is also in the works, according to the company.
Photo Credit: ?Twitter.com