Digital Trends reports that the deal is in a negotiating phase at the moment.
The logic in a buy-out for Google is that it needs a mobile messaging platform, and WhatsApp would give it a ready-made user base. While WhatsApp is secretive about how big its user-base is, it's known that the company handles billions of messages each day.
One possible hitch, though, is that Google would be buying a platform that is helping to grab revenues from the mobile operators that use Google's Android smartphone operating system. WhatsApp is similar to Skype in that it takes a dedicated service -- text messaging -- for which carriers charge and runs it over-the-top of the network, delivering a service to end users and no revenues to the network operators.
WhatsApp Messenger is a mobile messaging app that allows users to exchange messages with others who have the app without having to pay for SMS. Users can also use the app to send videos.
This is unlikely to give Google much pause, because it will continue happening whether the search giant buys WhatsApp or not: I noted back last year that WhatsApp was a promising prospect in the growing mobile social bubble. (See Finding the Buzz in the Mobile Bubble.)
I do wonder if we'll see more chatter from operators about alternative mobile operating systems if this acquisition goes ahead, though.
What's more certain is that as operators' traditional sources of revenue -- voice and SMS -- decline, we'll see an even greater focus on how to squeeze more money out of the one thing that user's can't easily cut -- the mobile data plan.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile