INTERNET GIANT Google purportedly is eyeing up mobile messaging service Whatsapp, with speculation suggesting that the app might be its next $1bn purchase.
That speculation comes from Digital Trends, which heard from an "inside source" that Google is in talks with Whatsapp to acquire the company.
According to the rumours, Whatsapp is "playing hardball" with Google in a bid to get a higher aquisition price, which reportedly is hovering around $1bn at present.
Facebook was also rumoured to be looking to buy Whatsapp last year. This might even have spurred Google's interest to go after the internet messaging service, given that Facebook last week unveiled its heavily customised Android interface.
Saying that, such a move by Google wouldn't come as much of a surprise. Whatsapp is one of the most popular mobile apps of all time, providing a cross-platform messaging service for users of iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices. Whatsapp, which is a paid-for application, boasted recently that its users are sending one billion messages each day, and on New Years Eve last year it saw 18 billion messages sent in just 24 hours.
It's still unclear what Google might do with Whatsapp if a purchase does go ahead. However, speculation suggests that Google could poach Whatsapp staff to help to develop its own messaging service called Babble, which is expected to arrive later this year.
We've contacted Google for comment on the rumour, but it has yet to respond. µ