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Google May be in Talks to Acquire WhatsApp

April 7, 2013

By Gilbert Falso :: 2:01 PM

Google and WhatsApp in talks.Search giant Google may be looking to get in to the messaging business, as rumors are picking up pretty quickly that the company is in talks with Internet messaging service WhatsApp. Some sources say that the acquisition price talks are in the $1 billion dollar range.

The WhatsApp messenger application is a cross-platform mobile messaging system that allows users to send and receive messages without having to incur text message or SMS fees. The app is available on iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia platforms. In addition to basic messaging functionality, WhatsApp users can create group messaging channels, as well as send images, video and audio messages to other users.

Although Google does have Google Voice for a messaging service now, that backend relies on the traditional wireless carrier phone network for sending and receiving text messages. With WhatsApp, all of that is shifted away from the carrier network, and on to the data side of the plan.

If Google successfully acquires WhatsApp, it will fill a significant chunk in its digital/mobile communications portfolio. By purchasing WhatsApp, it saves itself the time and money of building a new app from the ground up, or completely reworking how Google Voice handles text messaging.

WhatsApp has a solid user base, the application is in use in over 100 countries across over 700 mobile network providers. According to numbers released by WhatsApp, the service saw 18 billion messages processed last New Year’s Eve – clearly they have the number of eyeballs on their app that Google would be interested in.

As usual with these merger and acquisition rumors, no one is talking on the record about anything. But, seeing as this is the second time that Google and WhatsApp have been to this dance, and that WhatsApp has also been courted by Facebook in the past, the timing may be right for everything to come together over the next few weeks. Stay tuned.