Indian messaging platform Hike launched three new features –Stories, Camera and Live filters. While 20% of the users can access all the features starting today, Hike’s 100 million user base can use it by Sunday. Stories is a means by which people can share their lives and moments with friends in pictures. The Stories will be visible sequentially based on when it was taken. It replaces what was earlier the Timeline, where users would post pictures and statuses. While Stories is currently restricted to photos, it will over time include videos too. The advantage that Hike has is that nearly 30% of its user base in on 4G.
Unlike Snapchat that allows friends to see an image for less than 10 seconds, these images will be there for 48 hours. Says Kavin Mittal, founder & CEO, Hike: “Much of the photos happen over the weekend. The idea is that people can view images over two days considering the data constraints in the country.”
The idea behind the initiative is to make the app a more interactive place where people can do much more than just pure messaging. Hike has also introduced a camera within the app which makes it easier for users to take images and post them. Mittal believes that the camera is the new keyboard. Adding the fun element is live filters which allows the users to give a twist to their pictures. A turban makes the user look like Ranveer Singh. Another one gives the look of prime minister Narendra Modi.
These changes are targeted at the 15-24 year olds. As of now, 90% of Hike users are under 30 years of age. Mittal admits that right now the focus is on adding more features, while monetising would happen over two years. Currently Hike users exchange 40 billion messages per month and spend nearly two hours every week on the platform.