Google is reportedly looking into making its own web-based mobile messaging app, now that Facebook has gotten its hands on WhatsApp.
The Economic Times reports the information is based on a move taken by Nikhyl Singhal, a top product manager at Google, who was sent to India recently. His mission was to analyze the messaging app ecosystem in the country, as Google was seeking to catch up on yet another area where it has failed to notice the trend.
The Google messaging app is already in the works, reports indicate, and it will likely get released in 2015. The details of the app are inexistent at this point and it should be interesting to see what differentiates it from Hangouts, the messaging app Google already has on Android and web. Hangouts allows users to communicate by text message with their contacts, or via the Internet with the friends they have on Google.
Unlike its other products, however, the new messenger would not force users to use their Google account to log in, but rather give them more freedom. This is something that Google has been trying to do more of in recent months, including by allowing new Gmail users to forgo creating a Google+ account.
As all other Google services, the messaging tool will be free to use. Of course, no one can actually complain about how much WhatsApp charges after the first year of use.
Although a Google spokesperson refused to comment on the issue, it seems that the company made a $10 billion (€8 billion) offer to purchase WhatsApp. As you already know, the messaging app was eventually bought by Facebook for a much higher price, namely $19 billion (€15.18 billion), a record sum for such a tool. Microsoft had also shown interest in the app and was looking to make an offer.
Singhal, the product management director for Hangouts, Photos and Google+ core and platform, is also touring other nations in the Asia Pacific area to understand the local ecosystem better.
India is a market that is quickly developing and it is expected that it will become the second-largest smartphone market after China, in the next five years. The fact that Google is concentrating on this area indicates that it wants to make sure it can properly deliver an interesting product for people in this area. Google is, more or less, looking towards the future and thinking of the opportunities that lie there while developing this new tool.