Sources close to the matter have informed Digital Trends that Google is pulling all strings it can to acquire the messaging service but, the WhatsApp team is ‘playing hardball’. There were reports earlier that Google approached the WhatsApp team last December; around the same time when Facebook had been looking to buy the messaging service.

The reason Google is going gaga over WhatsApp is probably the idea of unifying its services that are completely disparate at the moment – Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Hangouts and the likes. It was rumoured earlier that Google has been working on a project dubbed Babble – some sort of message service and if manages to acquire WhatsApp, it will have at its disposal a strong team just like it managed to gain through its Sparrow acquisition.

WhatsApp has been downloaded tens of millions of times across different mobile platforms like Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone, and Apple’s iOS. Last New Year’s eve, the service saw transmission of a total of 18 billion messages.

Considering that WhatsApp doesn’t charge a whole lot for its app – just $1 for a yearly subscription, the service has been pulling in nearly $100 million in revenue, sources told Digital Trends.