Google missed out on the first wave of mobile messaging apps, an outcome it doesn’t intend to repeat. The search giant is reportedly in the early stages of developing a messaging app aimed at competing with popular apps like Hike, Line and WhatsApp.
The Mountain View-based company is said to have sent top product manager Nikhyl Singhal to India last month on a reconnaissance mission to gauge the state of the mobile messaging market. According to a report from The Economic Times, Google is looking to test its app in India and other emerging markets with a launch scheduled for sometime in 2015.
We may never know for sure whether or not Google genuinely had any interest in WhatsApp before Facebook swooped in for the acquisition but based on this latest information, it certainly seems likely.
Rumors of such a deal initially surfaced in April 2013 but were quickly dismissed by WhatsApp. Scuttlebutt nearly a year later – just after Facebook’s acquisition was made public – indicated the search giant originally offered $10 billion for the messaging app which again, was denied. If you recall, Facebook paid a whopping $19 billion for the startup this past February.
Interestingly enough, the report also points out that Google’s new messenger app will not force users to sign in with their Google account credentials. This, along with the app being free, should make it more attractive to users simply interested in chatting without having to jump through hoops and pay for the opportunity.