Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is striving to take over the mobile messaging market with it’s WhatsApp acquisition, but it may soon have to face serious competition from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
Google to launch WhatsApp competitor
According to a report from Economic Times, the search engine giant plans to start it’s own SMS messaging app service and India will likely be one of the test markets. The newspaper cited sources close to the matter. Economic Times added, “After losing WhatsApp to Facebook in a multi-billion dollar acquisition bid, Google is planning to launch its own mobile messaging app which the search giant is likely to test in India and other emerging markets.”
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Economics Times added that the app is still in the early stages, and my not be released until 2015. The actual name of the messenger is still unknown. India is a big market for mobile messaging apps. In fact, the country accounts for 65 million of the 600 million WhatsApp users worldwide. Other popular messaging apps include Line, Viber, and WeChat which are also popular in India. The report indicated Google will not make users deploy their user logins. The app will likely make users login with phone numbers instead. This would be a major plus for emerging markets which solid data connections are harder to come by.
Google hopes to launch new app in India
The new service will be free. A representative for the company declined to comment. Google already has something similar with the Google Hangouts app with SMS integration.
Google’s new app may also come with special features geared towards specific regions. Such features include Indian language support or voice-to-text messaging. The good news is that everything will be completely free and that will set it apart from WhatsApp freemium services.
Since the Android One is increasing its presence in India, Google will need to add more apps and programs for that local market.