If reports are to believed, Google is working on an instant messaging service that will focus on emerging markets. The new service is supposed to take on the likes of WhatsApp, and other emerging chat apps such as Line, Hike, Viber and WeChat.
According to an Economic Times report, Google's product manager Nikhyl Singhal had come to India to do a 'recce' of the messaging app ecosystem in the country. The site further says the new app will be a standalone product, doing away with need to log in via Google. The app will be competing against WhatsApp, which was recently taken over by Facebook.
Not that Google doesn't have an instant messaging/chatting application. Hangouts is already integrated in Android, and offers features such as SMS integration etc. It's bit surprising Google's working on a separate IM app.
However, it's notable Google is using the Indian market as its testing ground. Recently, Google launched Android One based phones in India.