Google Prepping India-focused Competitor to WhatsApp?
- Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
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According to Indias Economic Times, Google product manager Nikhyl Singhal has been sent out to the country to research its app ecosystem ahead of a launch, most likely in 2015, and possibly starting in Asia and then roll out to other countries.
The app itself will reportedly feature an automated voice-to-text function, which could prove to be its USP. It will be free to use – WhatsApp charges users a small annual subscription after the first year – and wont require a Google log-in, raising the question of how Google intends to monetise the service.
Developing a WhatsApp competitor makes sense for Google, which is rumoured to have been in talks to acquire the company before it was snapped up by Facebook for $16bn (£10bn) in February.
Along with its Project Loon and Android One initiatives, this app also looks like part of a wider attempt by Google to get a foothold in emerging markets, as smartphone penetration begins to take off.