Contrary to a rumor reported on Monday, WhatsApp business development lead Neeraj Arora said the popular messaging service is not talking with Google about a potential $1 billion sale.
Though this rumor originated from a Digital Trends article that cited only one anonymous source, Arora’s denial has not stopped the rumor mill from churning. For starters, Arora previously worked as Google’s chief of mergers and acquisitions, and she only denied that the companies were currently talking, not that talks never took place.
The acquisition would have made sense from Google’s point of view. WhatsApp is one of the most popular mobile apps in the world with more than 100 million app downloads, and Google currently doesn’t have an effective mobile messaging platform. With Facebook Home coming out tomorrow with plenty of its own unique messaging features, Google will need to play catch up in the mobile arena in this way.
WhatsApp could have been leveraged for Google Babel, the allegedly forthcoming service that most expect to unify Google’s various messaging services via Gmail, G+ and the Google Cloud Platform. Babel has been cropping up all over the Internet recently in screenshots, bug reports, and more. With the addition of WhatsApp, Google could fill this hole in the Babel strategy without needing to build any new technology and instantly have access to WhatsApp’s nearly 300 million users.
If there really isn’t a sale happening, it remains to be seen what Google’s answer to mobile messaging will be. For now, it looks like WhatsApp won’t be involved.