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Kaka.  Ka Kao Talk.  Have you heard these sounds, or similar ones, come from someone’s phone before?  If so, you were probably near a Korea, Korean American or someone who loves Korean culture.  But what is KakaoTalk?  Why do so many people have it?  And how do you use it?  Let’s look at the history of how and why this app is so popular, and why some feel that you need it as well.

History of Kakao

According to some Koreans, Kakao was created to fill a need in the Korean telephone market.  It was said that while many people enjoyed texting, unlimited texting didn’t exist. Overages were expensive for many consumers in Korea, just as it  was in the United States. So Kakao was created to allow users to use their smartphones to have unlimited text messaging over the internet.   This means if a person had a good data plan or a WiFi connection, they could take advantage of Kakao for nothing extra.

Why Kakao Became So Popular

Besides unlimited texting, Kakao allows users to make unlimited voice and video calls to other Kakao users via internet connection.  This means that Korean Americans could call their friends and family back in Korea for free over the internet.  To share links, files and voice notes with other users.  Group chats made communication with workmates even easier.  Popular KPOP acts used Kakao to inform fans of when they had a new project coming out, or when concert tickets would go on sale.  TV stations would broadcast upcoming episodes of new shows and to give updates on when popular shows would come back on the air.  In short, Kakao made it easier for people to stay in the loop.

Kakao Today

Kakao is listed as it’s own company with lots of different apps.  These include KakaoStory, KakaoBus, KakaoMap, KakaoMetro, KakaoPlace and KakaoTaxi, just to name a few.  You can even download Kakao inspired theme and layouts for your phone.  Some apps can only be downloaded in certain countries.  If so, and you are in an area that you cannot download it, you will get an error message regarding the app.  But most of the current apps can downloaded anywhere there is an internet connection.

Do You Need Kakao?

While Kakao is not mandatory, it is very useful if you are planning to go to Korea for a visit, or to stay permanently.  At times, you can ask people for their Kakao info instead of their phone number to communicate.  When you set up Kakao, you may be surprised at to how many of your friends have Kakao on their smartphone, tablet or computer.  There are other messaging apps that are useful to millions of people.  But Kakao remains the standard app for many people.  As communication apps are reviewed in the future, they will be compared to Kakao.  If you don’t have Kakao, click here for the Android version.  Click here for the iOS version.  To reach me on Kakao, search for the username WaygookinWay.

If you have an app you would like to see me review, you can email me at contact@waygookinway.com.  If you are an app developer and want a review of your app, please include a picture that you will allow to be used in the review.