It seems like the rumours of Google buying Telegram were only rumours after all. A statement by Telegram founder Pavel Duro firmly rebutted the rumours, calling them false.
The story went that about a year ago, the now Google CEO, Sundar Pichai met up with Telegram founder Durov — we are talking about the times when Pichai was the head of Google product — and offered to buy the messaging application for $1 Billion. The news garnered quite a bit of attention with the Russian press in particular, making much of it.
However, while speaking with TechCrunch, Durov today firmly rejected the rumours as false.
I haven’t had any acquisition talks or meetings with Google. I am acquainted to Google people and Sundar of course, but acquisition, 1 billion — all of that is false.
The rumour went riding on the fact that its own messaging service, Hangouts, wasn’t doing particularly well. I mean come on, who uses Hangouts as compared to WhatsApp or even Telegram? And that, when Google leverages it’s very special position as the progenitor of Android to pack Hangouts with the Android platform on a majority of devices, offering it as an alternative to messaging.
The rumours were also fueled by images of Rich Miner, co-founder of Android and now a general partner at Google Ventures, having an intimate discussion with Durov, at a party in Barcelona organised by Telegram to celebrate its 100 million active users.
So basically, Hangouts is like the iMessage of Android, minus any significant userbase. A telegram acquisition may have changed things, providing Google with a userbase that while still insignificant as compared to WhatsApp — or Facebook messenger — would have provided it with a sound footing to start off with.
However, that is not very likely to happen anytime soon now.