Some tasty speculation today from some sources “near the negotiations”. Apparently, Google is very close to buying the popular messenger app, WhatsApp. The cross-platform, versatile IM app has been something of a sensation on the App Store, Google Play and BlackBerry World since it hit the scene a couple of years back.

Almost to the point where it’s rare to find someone that isn’t using it. The attraction is that you can send messages to people all over the world for free, and without needing to be using the same platform.

Whereas BBM requires a BlackBerry, iMessage requires an iOS device and Gtalk requires a Google account, WhatsApp plays nice with anyone and everyone regardless of what device or services they frequently use.

The only hold up proceedings is WhatsApp’s valuation of itself according to the informants: “we’ve been told that WhatsApp is ‘playing hardball’ and jockeying for a higher acquisition price, which currently is ‘close to’ $1 billion right now.”

Google has a history of buying hit products to join its army of services. Last year, Sparrow (the popular email client) was bought out by the company, and since then has seen very little improvement and still lacks push notifications.

It’ll be very interesting to see what Google does with WhatsApp. Will it cancel plans to charge users a subscription fee and amalgamate it with Gtalk? Or will it remain its own separate entity?

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