WhatsApp rumoured to be in talks with Google over $1bn deal

The uber-popular unlimited mobile messaging app, is reportedly doing a deal with none other than Google to be acquired for a whopping $1bn.

WhatsApp, the uber-popular unlimited mobile messaging app, is reportedly doing a deal with none other than Google to be acquired for a whopping $1bn.

The talks started a month ago, according to Digital Trends, with WhatsApp holding out for a colossal payday.

Google's messaging services are seen as a little lacking, with no dedicated Google Chat apps on Android or iOS. Messaging is handled by a menu option in the Google+ app, which means an extra couple of clicks to see your chums' missives. (Note: see below.)

WhatsApp, on the other hand, is a really simple free replacement for text messaging, because it uses your phonebook and works across any platform. You're more likely to have someone's phone number than their email address, after all.

The major limitation is that it's only on your phone. You can't log in to WhatsApp on your tablet or any other device. The hope would be that if Google bought it, that restriction would be lifted and it would somehow be integrated with your Gmail address.

Currently WhatsApp makes its money with a subscription charge of $0.99 (65p) per year, with your first year free. That gives you unlimited messages, and is much cheaper than buying unlimited texts from your phone network. "Send a million messages a day to your friends for free!" as it says in the Play Store. It does use a little data if you use it over 3G, so you should check you've got at least 500MB a month before going crazy.

There's no ads on WhatsApp at the moment. Google's business is ads, of course, so I would expect that at some point the subscription charge would go away and ads would be introduced, but that might be years away, even if this supposed deal goes through. Don't panic -- it may very well keep an ad-free paid version.

Are you concerned about WhatsApp being swallowed up by a giant company? Or excited that it might get even better? Message me in the comments below, or over on our unlimited Facebook page.

Upodate: As several commenters have pointed out, Google Talk is a messaging app built into Android, and available via third-party apps on iOS. My point, which I could have articulated better, was Google's branding around its messaging system is confusing -- Google Chat doesn't have an app, Google Talk doesn't have an iOS app. It doesn't have the critical mass of users that WhatsApp has here in the UK.

 

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