Google linked to WhatsApp purchase

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Google to purchase WhatsApp?

Strong rumours have emerged that search giant Google could be set to make a $1 billion (£652m) bid for mobile messaging service WhatsApp.

While no official sources have confirmed the interest as of yet, unnamed insiders are confident that negotiation has begun between representatives of both companies. If a deal was to be completed, it would be the first billion dollar deal of this kind since Facebook's Instagram purchase in 2012.

While picture sharing services such as Instagram lead the way in terms of users in 2012, 2013 has so far been dominated by this kind of micro messaging platform. In addition to WhatsApp, there are several other similar products such as Line, Tango and MessageMe, which attracted over a million users less than two weeks after first launching.

Implications for Google Babble

Google's reported interest in WhatsApp is not the first time the company has been linked with a messaging platform, as rumours emerged last month of Google Babble and how this service could potentially go some way towards replacing Google Reader, which will be retired on July 1. As well as talking with friends and other contacts, news stories and other articles of interest can be shared.

Google Babble is expected to bring together all of the company's' messaging platforms in one place, with an announcement expected at next months' Google I/O (input/output) event. WhatsApp could be incorporated into Google Babble, allowing the company to take advantage of the reported 300 million users of the service. This would ensure that Google Babble does not trail behind the other established products which already have a strong customer base.

Tom Glass, creative director of theEword commented: "While this deal remains speculation for now, the popularity of such messaging services means it is almost inevitable a purchase on this scale will be made in the near future. Text messaging has dominated mobile messaging for 20 years, but the popularity of products such as WhatsApp shows that this form of messaging is almost certainly the future."