Kakao introduced a new feature to the Android version of its messaging app that allows users to test features in the pipeline before they are fully released.
The features in Kakao Lab will be tweaked in response to user feedback, and could potentially become permanent options in the future.
The technology being offered at launch includes Keyword Alerts, which allows users to disable new group chat alerts and instead receive notifications for messages that might be of particular interest to them. Users can register up to 10 keywords of up to 20 letters.
The other feature is the Move Unread Chatrooms to Top function, which helps users keep track of new messages.
The new tools can be activated via the Kakao Lab menu.
An iOS version of Kakao Lab is in the pipeline, and will include functionality designed exclusively for users of the Apple platform.
Kakao prides itself in providing services that users will benefit from, so testing new features will give it a better idea of the impact new functionality will have.
Sirgoo Lee, co-CEO of Kakao, told Mobile World Live in February that the success Kakao has had has been down to giving its users value: “We integrate user suggestions into our service on a regular basis and that gives the feel to our users that they’re creating the service together with us and so there’s this strong sense of loyalty among our users.”
In 2011, the company carried out a 100 User-Suggested improvements initiative in its native South Korea, which resulted in a number of new features.