Could Google be in Talks to Acquire WhatsApp?

whatsapp-logoIf a recent report is to be believed, the next billion dollar app acquisition might just be around the corner. Facebook acquired Instagram for $1 billion last year and now Google is supposedly in talk with WhatsApp to acquire it for over $1 billion.

WhatsApp is in the negotiating phase over prices with Google, reports Digitaltrends.

Talks began four or five weeks ago and WhatsApp is “playing hardball” for a higher valuation, which is currently at $1 billion, the report states.

Rumors of Google Babble have been doing the rounds, in which Google is likely to put all its communication services under one roof.

Mobile messaging apps like WhatsApp, Hike, Plustxt and WeChat have taken over personal communication with the amount of conversations happening over instant messaging and SMS, seeing a sharp downward spiral in usage. Facebook is also making a major push in this sector with Facebook Messenger.

WhatsApp has been approached both by Facebook and Google earlier. WhatsApp has been constantly the number one paid app on the App Store and the Play Store in more than 100 countries.

WhatsApp had reported that it had processed 18 billion messages in a day on New Years Eve 2012.

WhatsApp is ad free and has a nominal $0.99 subscription fee. WhatsApp also has career & operator partnerships across the world.

If the deal does go through, we wonder what plans Google will have for it. Will it immediately integrate and launch it with Babble? Will it shut it down like it has done with a lot of services it has acquired? The most important question is – will it support as many platforms as WhatsApp is on right now or will it become an Android exclusive.

If the last scenario does play out then others like WeChat, Hike and Plustxt have a big chance of capitalizing in this space. Users, already concerned over the amount of information Google has already, are also likely to look for alternatives.

A recent consumer study by Nielsen found that  50% of the people surveyed used WhatsApp and spend nearly 24 minutes using the app every day beating even Facebook which is used by 51% for just 10 minutes a day on their smartphones.

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