Google was in a perfect position to dominate the mobile messaging and social networking markets while they were still in their infancy, but because it was too slow to act, it missed both of those opportunities and has been struggling to establish a significant foothold in those markets ever since. Fortunately, if a company as large as Google fails in a certain market, it can just acquire a smaller company that succeeded in it, and a report out of Russia on Thursday claims that Google wants to do exactly that by acquiring Telegram. However, the popular messaging app has since denied that report, claiming that it’s not even in discussions with Google, let alone working on an acquisition deal.
Google may be the king of search but some of its best efforts around building communications tools have failed – remember Wave? – or faltered – remember the last time you used Google+? No, me neither. Google Chat, now integrated with Google Hangouts, was once my go-to office gossip tool. But now Slack is on the scene and I barely spend any time in my email inbox. So perhaps it’s no surprise that, according to news outlets in Russia, Google execs have been courting Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov for at least a year looking for a $1bn easy win. Telegram says it now has 100 million monthly users, has an increasingly important focus on privacy and has now turned its attentions to the next tech arms race – bots. But alas, a Telegram spokesperson has confirmed in no uncertain terms to TNW: “This is complete bullshit. There were no acquisition talks, no plans for any such thing either.” Telegram hasn’t monetized yet and faces stiff competition from WhatsApp, which recently enabled end-to-end encryption, so no doubt a Google buyout would be a boon for the company’s coffers.