According to rumors, Google is negotiating an acquisition of popular cross platform messaging service WhatsApp. The deal reportedly started over a month back. As it now stands, the WhatsApp team is rumored to be “playing hardball” and pushing for a higher price, which according to inside sources is close to a staggering $1 billion as of now. It is said that Google first approached WhatsApp for a possible acquisition back in December, around the same time it was rumored that Facebook was considering acquiring the popular service. The service has a user base spanning over 100 countries and more than 750 mobile networks around the globe.

The rumor of this acquisition comes hot on the heels of another rumor that claims Google is developing its own cross platform messaging service called Google Babble. Acquiring WhatsApp would mean that the internet search giant will bring in an accomplished team of this niche and merge them with its own. Google has previously done the same with Sparrow, a very popular mail application for iOS, which it acquired back in July 2012. Having WhatsApp under its belt would definitely put Google in a better position to emerge as a major player in the cross platform messaging niche.

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