Google has been working hard to unify their products. Their latest project, combines its currently fragmented messaging platforms under one powerful and effective service. The new initiative, affectionately called “Babble”, will do just that. Currently, Google is maintaining Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive collaboration, and the pseudo Google Talk for G+. The only two that work even fairly well together are Google Talk for Gmail and G+ and even they can evoke frustration with users from time-to-time.
The Babble cross-platform solution could enable Google to dominate chat services such as iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger. Google is building Babble from the ground up, which may or may not be a blessing depending on how you look at it. On one hand, they will be working from a clean slate and there will be no boundaries as to what they can make the app do. On the other hand, Google will be pushing out another Beta product based on past experiences that may have more bugs than a Louisiana bayou on a hot summer afternoon. We will just have to hope the geeks at Google push out a well polished, well oiled, version of the app on Beta release.
Babble will enable several enhancement features, such as:
- Share photos in chat windows.
- Start a hangout with anyone in your contacts list.
- Conversations are threaded across the different services.
- Ability to use same window for all chat products.
XMPP has served Google well over the years. Google’s recent decision to block non-native XMPP requests may be their first step towards building their own closed communications platform. In order to use the chat service their will be restrictions in place set by Google that must be adhered to closely. Bad news for those of you that are used to customization and tweaking, but transparent to the rest of us that are just looking for a simple, high quality, high performance chat solution that will get the job done.
No official release date has been announced as of yet, but we expect to hear something concerning the unification of these products during the upcoming Google I/O 2013. All that is known is that the new service comes with an app that will span across Android and Chrome OS, so it is unclear how it will be unveiled officially to the public.
I am excited that Google is addressing the chat fragmentation issue that has been affecting their platforms for years.