Is it too late for Google to create a messaging app to rival Whatsapp, Line, WeChat, Viber and Line? And, if so, what chance would any tier-one telco have of doing so?
We might get a local test of whether it is now “too late” to get into the messaging app space as Google seems to be preparing for the launch of an India-focused messaging app in 2015.
Google has been “too late” before. Google missed “social” and “social on mobile.”
One might argue Facebook bought WhatsApp and Instagram to address both those features.
But Google might conclude India along is a big enough market to attempt a catch-up strategy.
Of the 600 million WhatsApp users, 65 million are in India. Viber has about 25 million Indian users. LIne has about 18 million users in India. WeChat might have between 25 million and 60 million users, in India.
Reportedly, Google will not charge a fee (WhatsApp charges $1 a year), will have Indian language support, and possibly voice-to-text features. The rumored message app might also not require Google single sign-in, either.
India is expected to become the world's second-largest smartphone market after China by 2019, and that might be the incentive to launch a Google messaging app for India.