Google is reportedly in the process of creating its own mobile messaging application, along the same lines as WhatsApp, Line, and Viber. The news comes from India’s Economic Times, and the article states the search company will test the app in the country next year. If you’re wondering what’s wrong with Hangouts, then there is a key difference between the two – Google’s new messenger app won’t require a Google login.
Most popular Google apps, such as Google+, Gmail, and the Google Play Store, need the user to have a Google account. While hardly restrictive, it can be an issue if Google doesn’t have a large presence in the respective market. There’s also the case some people may not want to sign up with Google at all.
Google’s possible decision to put some effort into a cross-platform, Google-free messaging app may have been influenced by Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, and a desire to not lose ground in emerging markets. WhatsApp, for example, has 65 million users in India alone, and Viber’s new owner has major international expansion plans too. We’ve seen this strategy before recently, after BlackBerry let its BBM app out into the world, aiming it primarily at Africa. Google’s app may be localized to include multi-language support, giving it stronger appeal.
There’s no official confirmation from Google, but an anonymous source informed the Economic Times the new app would launch in 2015, and would be free to use. This sets it apart from WhatsApp, which charges a modest annual fee, and puts it in competition with the free – and feature-packed – Line app.