Connect with us

Social Media

Yahoo the first to launch chatbots on Kik

Following in the footsteps of Facebook and other social media platforms, Yahoo becomes the first platform to launch chatbots on popular messenger, Kik.

Published

on

robocalling robotics business

Gettin’ chatty on Kik

While Yahoo may be in the middle of a sell out, they are still attempting to stay on top of the internet game. Yahoo recently announced the launch of three chatbots for the popular messaging platform Kik. Chat bots certainly aren’t a new innovation, but they are new to the Kik platform. Some retailers have already been using chatbots on Facebook’s Messenger platform.

bar
Yahoo’s chatbots are essentially an easier way for Kik enthusiasts to access the same information Yahoo users can access through two of their most popular apps: Yahoo News Digest and Yahoo Weather. To interact with the bots, users only need to search for the ID (@yahoonews and @yahooweather), then select some preferences from the menu and you can begin interacting. I actually had a hard time finding them, when I searched for them; instead, I clicked the “search” icon, then “bot shop” and was able to find them there without issue.

Why chatbots?

Even though these chatbots possess a certain element of coolness, it is a bit unclear how relevant chatbots will be in the long run; especially given the popularity of live chat, email, and direct messaging.

However, Kik states that over 40% of American teenagers use their platform, spending, on average, upwards of an hour per day on the app.

This is a fairly large audience, so it makes sense that Yahoo wants to optimize their influence, but are chatbots the best way to go?

Kik seems to think it will go well, as similar gaming bots have done extremely well on the platform. Yahoo’s senior director of product, Jon Paris, said Yahoo had chosen to work with Kik on the bots, instead of Facebook Messenger, because Kik allowed bots on their network nearly two years before Facebook. This allowed more time for development and beta testing.

Testing seems to be the primary reason Yahoo has chosen to launch on Kik. Paris stated Yahoo was hoping to learn from the way Kik’s users interacted with the bots and make improvements based on their feedback. It looks like Yahoo maybe using Kik as a launching pad to developing and launching bots on Facebook Messenger.

What can they do?

Chatbots definitely have advantages for things like immediate customer service responses (since Facebook times your responses), engaging your followers, or running special promotions (like games), but I’m not sure how long news and weather bots will remain relevant and engaging. The greater majority of cell phone users, use smartphones; smartphones have apps for news and weather that send notifications to the top of your screen (if enabled).

Apps like The Weather Channel and NPR, already do the things that make Yahoo chatbots unique. Yahoo Weather chatbot allows you to see a real-time photo of the weather in your chosen areas, courtesy of Flickr; The Weather Channel app also uses this information. The same is true of the Yahoo News chatbot. It allows you to receive global headlines and summaries twice a day, right from Kik.

While this is useful if you’re a heavy Kik user, the same information is available through other apps, or a simple Google search.

This is why I’m uncertain about the relevancy of these particular chatbots: do they really do anything unique?

Do they need to? What do you think? When the novelty of the new chatbots wears off, will this put Yahoo ahead of the technology pack, or will it just be another form of temporary entertainment for users?

#KikChatbots

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Social Media

Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.

Published

on

TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as musical.ly in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Facebook’s Hobbi app was a complete flop

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Facebook seemingly has enough money to throw away projects and apps they know will fail. Hobbi is their most recent flop.

Published

on

Facebook failed Hobbi

Due to its abysmal underperformance on the App Store, Facebook is killing their new app, Hobbi, just months after its rollout in February.

Hobbi was the brainchild of Facebook’s New Product Experimentation Team, whose stated purpose is to rapidly ideate, build, and launch experimental new apps – then pull them if they aren’t successful.

Hobbi was designed to help users document their progress on their various personal projects and, well, hobbies. Complaints centered primarily on its threadbare feature offerings. Notably, Hobbi does not allow its users to browse the works of other creators through the app- it only packages media like photos and videos for sharing elsewhere.

A post on the Tech@Facebook blog states that they “expect many failures” from the NPE Team, suggesting that Hobbi was not necessarily intended to last. But you have to wonder… what is supposed to be the point of a tool like this?

Stories are a popular feature on most major social media websites, including Facebook itself. And Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) already allows its users to curate and group posts about whatever they want, including personal projects, hobbies and interests, through their story highlights.

So Facebook created a product that was already made redundant by their existing properties. What is experimental about that, exactly?

Hobbi originally drew comparisons to Pinterest. Both are like digital scrapbooks; Pinterest is a platform for content that inspires creativity, and Hobbi creates progress reports for creative undertakings.

One could also compare Hobbi to the underperforming video streaming platform, Quibi, which recently became infamous for its ostentatious ad campaign, aggressively flaunted celebrity cameos, and ultimately, its overwhelming failure.

Jeffery Katzenberg, Quibi cofounder of Disney and Dreamworks fame, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for Quibi’s flop – a questionable claim, considering just how much free time many have had to binge Netflix’s Tiger King during the lockdown.

The same could be said about Hobbi. People have been taking on projects like crazy in the time that has Hobbi been on the market. Quarantine cabin fever has us baking, crafting, painting, cleaning, and redecorating like never before. Yet Hobbi went nearly untouched.

Nobody used it because nobody needed it. Surely some cursory research would have demonstrated this?

One conclusion is that the app itself was the research – that Facebook’s NPE team isn’t really creating finished products, but rather testing the waters for potential new ones. (Could this framing be an elegant form of damage control, though? It’s easier to say “I meant to do that!” than it is to admit failure, especially in business.)

Still, creating throwaway apps in a bloated industry feels like cheating, whether it was meant for research purposes or not. There are plenty of indie app developers who create great tools with way less funding. Filling app marketplaces with lemons makes it harder for folks to find those gems.

Either way, hopefully we will see some original ideas coming from Facebook’s NPE Team moving forward, because this was clearly a disappointment.

Continue Reading

Social Media

Can Twitter ever secure data privacy, like even once?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter releases private information affecting already hurting businesses, should this even be a surprise anymore? They have a history of privacy breaches.

Published

on

twitter privacy

Dear Twitter,

I don’t know if you’ve seen the news within the past two years, but Facebook’s been under continuous scrutiny for privacy malpractices that affected millions of its users, so unless your goal is to be the next social network to infringe upon our first amendment right to privacy, I suggest you GET IT TOGETHER!

Over the weekend, users, specifically businesses, realized their billing information was being stored in their browsers cache. This is devastating news for business owners who rely on Twitter to promote their product, or stay in touch with their customers, who over the recent months have already faced monumental challenges. It is hard as a business owner to not feel this is an intentional overreach of privacy.

In an age where we have actual robots to vacuum our floors, and 3D printing, I speak for the people when I say this is unacceptable.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has been caught privacy breaching. A little over a year ago, Twitter announced that they were fixing a bug, many weren’t even aware of, that released phone numbers, location, and other personal data. AND GET THIS, even those who selected the option to keep their information private were affected, so what the hell is the point of asking us our preference in the first place?!!!

What about the time that Twitter accounts could be highjacked by ISIS and used to spread propaganda? All because Twitter didn’t require an email confirmation for account access. Or what about when Twitter stored your passwords in plaintext instead of something easily more secure. Flaws like these show a distinct ability of Twitter to just half ass things; to make it work, but not think about how to keep the users safe.

Like I said in the beginning, get it together Twitter.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!