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WhatsApp denies it's selling out to Google in $1bn deal

Mobile messaging megalodon WhatsApp has denied it's in talks with Google over a rumoured $1bn acquisition.

Mobile messaging megalodon WhatsApp has denied it's in talks with Google over a rumoured $1bn acquisition.

The company's head of business development, Neeraj Arora -- who used to work for Google -- told AllThingsD the deal wasn't happening, and declined to comment further.

The rumour, which originated in a post on Digital Trends earlier this week, ruffled feathers among fans of large amounts of money, but also users worried Google might change their beloved service in some way.

"Google scans and stores all details of you. It's like Facebook but more sneaky. I'd prefer they didn't buy WhatsApp," wrote an anonymous CNET UK reader yesterday.

The possible advantage of Google buying the app, which I mooted yesterday, was a possible expansion into tablet and desktop apps. That's currently not possible because WhatsApp is tied to your phone number, which means it can use your phone's address book but can't escape the confines of your pocket.

"I would like to see desktop, Web and of course tablet clients for WhatsApp," wrote reader Tom Kelsall. "The advantage over Google Messenger/Talk is that it's tied to a phone number and pulls your contact list, checking who is on WhatsApp automatically and doesn't show those who aren't. With only a phone client it's quite limited in function."

WhatsApp's appeal is based on its simplicity and unlimited messaging, for only 65p per year on Android, and free on iPhone after you pay 69p for the app. The iPhone app will change to match the yearly fee model sometime later this year, the company has announced.

A partnership with Google would seem to be an awkward fit, after WhatsApp has been vocal on how much it dislikes ads. "We want WhatsApp to be the product that keeps you awake... and that you reach for in the morning. No one jumps up from a nap and runs to see an advertisement," it wrote in a blog post last year. As a small company with a huge number of users, however, it'll always be a prime target for takeover.