TangoA year and a half ago I predicted that Google would buy free voice, video, and texting app, Tango. It didn’t happen. But you know what? It should have.

Why? Because it’s only going up in value. In April the company closed a $40 million round of funding, bringing its grand total to nearly $100 million. At that time, it had 45 million registered users. Celebrating its third anniversary this week, Tango reported its registered userbase has jumped to more than 150 million, 60 million of which are active users.

Granted, it’s nowhere near competition such as Viber, which is closing in on 200 million users, and WhatsApp – it has more than a quarter of a billion users. In terms of simply video calling, it’s the David to the Goliaths of Skype and FaceTime as well.

But when you look for an app that does it all, I don’t think anything out there compares to Tango.  It’s available on more than 1,000 different handsets and offers more than just a video and text messaging connection. It has opened up its platform to allow developers to make games such as tic tac toe, which users can play with one another while engaging in a face-to-face chat via mobile.

I probably should have written a story on this back in March. Back then it announced it was moving in a social direction, allowing users to see if anyone nearby is on Tango. I wish Facebook would do that. So, it’s well ahead of the competition there — maybe not in numbers, but in terms of features.

Google, on the other hand, needs help with its video strategy. I love Google Hangout on the web, not on mobile. Integrating Tango’s technology could take it to the next level. I think it’s only a matter of time before Google regrets not picking it up sooner.

My only major concern is if the company is trying to do too much, too fast. When a startup moves beyond its core focus, many ask if it’s having an identity crisis. Tango’s CTO Eric Setton, addresses that question and how Tango sizes up against the competition in the video below.

[home page image via Stijn Goris]