Google planning to offer BBM like service by purchasing WhatsApp?

A BlackBerry was, for a while at least, a must have device among teens and young adults. The main reason most people will cite? BBM, due to its free messaging capabilities; or should we say, being able to message your friends without eating into your text allowance or pre-paid credit.

So when WhatsApp arrived as a multi-platform solution, non-BlackBerry users were able to avail of a similar service to BBM – a messaging client that utilised data and not text allowances. Sure, other alternatives were/are available, but WhatsApp captured the imagination of users on a much larger scale.

Now, thanks to some insider information, it looks like Google’s next big buy could be WhatsApp. The deal was reported to have started approximately five weeks ago, but WhatsApp are “playing hardball” over their sale price, valuing the company at “close to” $1 billion right now.

While rumours are abound that Google are working on Babble, a cross platform messaging app of their own, purchasing WhatsApp would eliminate a massive competitor and net the company an already established user base.

It’s the one space that Google has been trailing behind other services like WhatsApp, Kik Messenger and even Facebook Chat. As Google has already approached WhatsApp in the past, it would seem that there is more weight behind these insider sources than anyone is willing to let on, at least officially. Google would also be under pressure to keep the service ad-free, keeping the $0.99 yearly subscription fee.

So, with 18 billion WhatsApp messages processed on New Year’s Eve 2012 alone, Google, would be making a move into more than 100 countries and 750 mobile networks that use the WhatsApp service. If the deal goes ahead that is.

Source: Digital Trends | Image courtesy of Pocket Lint

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft ends Windows XP support one year from today; is the world ready?

Next Story

Knock-off Nokia Lumia 920 appears in India

50 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

If Google buys WhatsApp, the WP, BlackBerry, and Symbian versions of the app will lose all hope. And WhatsApp will lose its status as a true multi-platform client. Honestly I think Google would shove their stupid mobile agenda (lol, "open" and "innovation") down WhatsApp's throats and only care about Android and iOS.

I wished Microsoft had purchased them instead. Now I know I will get bugged by ads in my messages with Google taking control of the platform (and possible read my content to push specific ads)

WhatsApp on WP8 sucks. I have tried the app for all platforms including BB and WP8 is really bad. It drains my battery and has so many bugs. I also hope on the other hand that Google doesn't buy it because then they will remove it from WP marketplace which will really suck.

StandingInAlley said,
WhatsApp on WP8 sucks. I have tried the app for all platforms including BB and WP8 is really bad. It drains my battery and has so many bugs. I also hope on the other hand that Google doesn't buy it because then they will remove it from WP marketplace which will really suck.

If it sucks so bad why would you care if its gone?

This is Microsoft's opportunity to really push Skype hard. It already has more users, it just needs more options and choices to get working.

But they should wait until Google makes the acquisition, then push the "big brother" aspect of Google, show that Skype doesn't do any of that funny business and destroy their entire investment.

Damn I should lead strategy at MS.

Funny that iMessage wasn't discussed in this article. While iMessage is a closed system for Apple devices, I could definitely see Google attempting to "one up" Apple by offering an open system like this that integrates with Android devices at the same depth as iMessage does with iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac.

Microsoft might have something similar up their sleeve with Live Messenger being phased out in favor of Skype.

As an ardent iMessage user, I can only hope that Google and Microsoft both release something better than iMessage that works on multiple platforms.

The only reason I'm still tied to an iPhone is due to myself having little to no LTE/3G at my apartment and absolutely no signal when I'm at school or the gym. While I cannot receive calls at these places, at least I'm able to text via wifi, which is what has kept me in Apple's ecosystem.

And yes... while I know that I could download Kik or WhatsApp to achieve the same thing, my issue is with having to force people to download a third party app when their phone should already support text over internet to begin with.

If Google manage to acquire WhatsApp, they will improve the product to make it even better...

I see nothing wrong with that...

lomas said,
If Google manage to acquire WhatsApp, they will improve the product to make it even better...

I see nothing wrong with that...

Not necessarily.. Google is notorious for buying something, trying it out for a few months then absolutely destroying it before they dump it again. Not to mention Google wouldn't support Windows Phone which sucks.

So.... what's wrong with their Google Talk product?

What they really need to do is to consolidate their current messaging products (Google Talk, Google+ Messaging).

I agree with you. Google already has fairly robust chat app installed on hundreds of millions (billions?) of android phones already. I don't know the exact state of google talk on ios, but I have done a video call (hangout) through the google plus app on android to the google plus app on an ipad with participants on windows computers. What does this new service have that google talk doesnt?

Whatsapp sometimes charges to install it.. I think I paid €1.79 or something in the Apple store a few years ago, but it's free now, also in the Windows Phone store as well. There doesn't appear to be a solid subscription model at all.

I hope that won't happen as WP support (which is already poor) will be killed without a doubt... Then there is one fewer reason to use WP.

hin123 said,
I hope that won't happen as WP support (which is already poor) will be killed without a doubt... Then there is one fewer reason to use WP.

What's poor about WP support? I have it and it's no different.

Mikeffer said,

What's poor about WP support? I have it and it's no different.


The first version was not so good. But since they recently updated it, its superb.

Shadowzz said,

The first version was not so good. But since they recently updated it, its superb.

Cheers for the heads up, i thought they'd done something sneaky since i left Android and made it extra amazing

Mikeffer said,

What's poor about WP support? I have it and it's no different.

The experience could definitely be improved. It currently masquerades as a music application to stay loaded in the background on WP8. About 2 weeks ago, I, and many others were getting very late notifications of messages and repeat notifications of messages I read hours ago. It also doesn't use any of the voice to text features of WP, which is unfortunate when I am driving. They are actively working on it, and currently have newer versions in beta.

NeoTrunks said,

The experience could definitely be improved. It currently masquerades as a music application to stay loaded in the background on WP8. About 2 weeks ago, I, and many others were getting very late notifications of messages and repeat notifications of messages I read hours ago. It also doesn't use any of the voice to text features of WP, which is unfortunate when I am driving. They are actively working on it, and currently have newer versions in beta.

True true. You made me realise i have noticed a few quirks myself. Occasionally i'll only get the notification if i actually enter the app. Also occasionally the live tile doesn't update.

Google would also be under pressure to keep the service ad-free, keeping the $0.99 yearly subscription fee.

I could be wrong, but is the subscription fee only for users not on Android? I've been using Whatsapp for several years now and I haven't paid a penny...

Nah, it's 69p/99c on iOS (though they quite often give it away for free), and it's meant to be a 69p/99c annual charge on Android I believe.
However, I bought it on iOS and because I kept the same number when I moved to Android, I now have a free lifetime subscription which is nice

It's not free on Android, there is a subscription fee. However, if you leave it alone it will never charge you and just keep rolling over your "free trial". There is an option hidden in the menus to purchase a subscription if you really want to pay

Google aren't stupid. They've seen that WhatsApp is what users are using and they want a piece of that. Why spend your time, money and resources creating something that you can just buy up and get the priceless addition of the user-base as well.

They will not make it ad free but drop the purchase prize for it. Else there is no way how this would fit into Google's business model

-adrian- said,
They will not make it ad free but drop the purchase prize for it. Else there is no way how this would fit into Google's business model

Isn't it free on everything except iOS?

Mikeffer said,

Isn't it free on everything except iOS?

The app is "free" on WP and Android but there is a yearly subscription service attached to it. I cannot speak for WP but on Android they don't seem to enforce the subscription at all, I've been on my "free trial" for years now (it just keeps automatically extending). I'm guessing the first thing Google will do is "fix" this and make sure users are actually paying for it.

Xerxes said,

The app is "free" on WP and Android but there is a yearly subscription service attached to it. I cannot speak for WP but on Android they don't seem to enforce the subscription at all, I've been on my "free trial" for years now (it just keeps automatically extending). I'm guessing the first thing Google will do is "fix" this and make sure users are actually paying for it.

You're not alone. Even on Symbian they don't "enforce" the subscription fees. They do ask for it though every now and then!

Xerxes said,

The app is "free" on WP and Android but there is a yearly subscription service attached to it. I cannot speak for WP but on Android they don't seem to enforce the subscription at all, I've been on my "free trial" for years now (it just keeps automatically extending). I'm guessing the first thing Google will do is "fix" this and make sure users are actually paying for it.

Got it on Android and WP8 and never knew anything about a subscription haha. I should read the fine print next time.
Anyway, if it does ask me to pay for it then i won't bother, i only use it currently because others do, i can just text them really.

Mikeffer said,

Anyway, if it does ask me to pay for it then i won't bother, i only use it currently because others do, i can just text them really.
its a dollar. for a year. 1 divided by 365. that cost of entry is high enough to make you change services?

Spyder said,
its a dollar. for a year. 1 divided by 365. that cost of entry is high enough to make you change services?

No, but i have it at the moment and don;t really use it so the 69p would be enough for me not to bother.

FFS, is there anything they won't buy? My whole family uses WhatsApp, I don't wanna be using any goddamn Google product, f this!

If at all, they will be buying it for the brand name. So I don't see them changing the name or experience in any major way, other than obviously integrating it with GMail perhaps, which is not that bad a thing, honestly.

Shane Ekanayake said,
use kik messenger

Kik works differently. WhatsApp is better. If Google do buy this and start adding their poor services and/or reading my messages to target me with ads like they do with Gmail then they can **** off.

I love whatsapp because its ad free. If google buys it, im gonna switch to alternatives like kik. Already annoyed from my Xperia sl, the whole OS is full of ads, when i even unlock phone, it shows full screen ads!

simrat said,
I love whatsapp because its ad free. If google buys it, im gonna switch to alternatives like kik. Already annoyed from my Xperia sl, the whole OS is full of ads, when i even unlock phone, it shows full screen ads!

Thats funny I've been using Android since day one and I've never had a full screen ad appear on any of my devices, tablets or phones.

In fact you can install an app such as adaway and not get any ads whatsoever, not browsing or in your apps.

Sonne said,

Thats funny I've been using Android since day one and I've never had a full screen ad appear on any of my devices, tablets or phones.

In fact you can install an app such as adaway and not get any ads whatsoever, not browsing or in your apps.


Then you must be very lucky.

If Whatsapp goes to Google, I'm not going to use it anymore. Same reason as provided, I don't want em scanning my messages.

well You must be really lucky thn, my phone is full of ads, Full screen ads and notifications of crappy games. My gallery is full of their images. Tried airpush detector, no luck.

Lprd2007 said,
FFS, is there anything they won't buy? My whole family uses WhatsApp, I don't wanna be using any goddamn Google product, f this!

QFT man.

If they do it, I will just completely switch over to LINE.

Mohitster said,
If at all, they will be buying it for the brand name. So I don't see them changing the name or experience in any major way, other than obviously integrating it with GMail perhaps, which is not that bad a thing, honestly.

The WP8 port of WhatsApp is pretty bad, but steadily getting better every update. Knowing Google, that's sure to change if they buy them out.

NeoTrunks said,

The WP8 port of WhatsApp is pretty bad, but steadily getting better every update. Knowing Google, that's sure to change if they buy them out.


Yeah, knowing Google, it will stop working with WP altogether.

Lprd2007 said,
FFS, is there anything they won't buy? My whole family uses WhatsApp, I don't wanna be using any goddamn Google product, f this!

May as well stop using products altogether then. No telling what company will by what in the future.

I've owned a Samsung Galaxy Tab, Nexus, and Galaxy S II X and I have never seen full screen ads . + I usually make sure no apps send me push notifications.

- Maybe its because I use Cyanogenmod?

techbeck said,

May as well stop using products altogether then. No telling what company will by what in the future.


You can somewhat trust other companies but not a company whose sole aim is to harvest you and show ads.