Google plans to launch its own messaging app similar to WhatsApp, the Economic Times of India reports.
Google, which tried and failed to buy WhatsApp before Facebook acquired the company for $US19 billion, will reportedly launch the new app in 2015.
Google already lets people chat via its Hangouts app, but Times’ sources say the new app won’t require users to enter their Google login information. It will reportedly be free to download and use, and will likely be tested in India and other emerging markets. Google+ product manager Nikhyl Singhal apparently toured India last month to get a better idea of the messaging app ecosystem there.
It’s a crowded space: Besides WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, and Viber are all apps with millions of users around the world. However, Google’s efforts could pair well with Android One, its efforts to make super-cheap smartphones for emerging markets.
“Google would agree that it missed social and missed social on mobile. But then Facebook had to buy WhatsApp and Instagram for the same reason,” Benedict Evans, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, told The Times.
Business Insider reached out to Google for comment.