It’s true that Google already has Hangouts but where Hangout focuses on calling, the new app will apprently focus on messaging, and will be focuses on and tested in India, though Google has not confirmed or denied the report.
Different messaging apps are popular in different parts of the world. WhatsApp holds the crown overall, but WeChat isn’t far behind. In emerging markets such as India and China, these apps, along with LINE and KakaoTalk, hold a very strong position, while also being widely used in parts of Europe. In the U.S., aside from WhatsApp, Kik and Snapchat are mong the more formidable competitors.
Google is going to have to struggle a bit to get its own app in on the action in emerging markets
Needless to say, Google is going to have to struggle a bit to get its own app in on the action in these markets. Unlike Facebook, which bought WhatsApp in order to stay relevant in the emerging mobile world, Google looks like it’s going it alone with a brand new app rather than an acquisition. Viber was also acquired earlier this year by Japan’s Rakuten.
Google has offered messaging apps before, such as Google Talk, but they weren’t nearly as large as WhatsApp as far as user base goes. In the long run, it will be interesting to see just how well Google can compete.