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Report claims Google in talks to acquire WhatsApp for $1 billion

That's the latest reported rumor from Digital Trends, which says the WhatsApp team is "playing hardball" with Google.

WhatsApp running on iOS.
WhatsApp running on iOS.
Screenshot by Steven Musil/CNET

Google is in talks to acquire cross-platform messaging application WhatsApp, claims a Digital Trend report.

Google and WhatsApp have been talking for "four or five weeks," according to Digital Trends, citing a person who claims to have knowledge of the negotiations. So far, WhatsApp has been able to push the acquisition price to nearly $1 billion by "playing hardball," the source says.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging applications available to mobile users. The app allows users on almost any mobile platform -- including Android, iOS, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone -- to send instant messages, images, audio, and video messages to one another. The messaging app essentially allows for cross-platform texting without having to pay for SMS.

In January, WhatsApp announced that it had set a personal record on New Year's Eve, with 7 billion inbound messages sent that day. Another 11 billion outbound messages were sent in the same time period. WhatsApp's previous one-day record stood at 10 billion total messages.

Whether WhatsApp is actually worth $1 billion is up for debate. That's the price that Facebook paid for Instagram last year, and some believed the deal didn't land in the social network's favor. WhatsApp, while popular, doesn't have the kind of cachet that Instagram did at the time of that acquisition, making such a valuation seem high. And because the Digital Trends story comes from only one source, it's important to take it with a grain of salt at this time.

CNET has contacted both Google and WhatsApp for comment. We will update the story when we have more information.