Google just can’t figure out exactly which way it wants people to communicate. When Android launched, Google Talk silently existed alongside a generic messaging app for SMS and MMS. Hangouts took over in May 2013; however, that didn’t turn out to be the Apple iMessage competitor everyone was waiting for. So people have been waiting years to get their hands on an all-in-one messaging platform from Google. It just doesn’t seem like consolidation is happening anytime soon.
Because you can never have to many messaging platforms on your mobile devices, Google is launching Spaces. At least this one has a focus, though, even if it could’ve been folded into one of the company’s other offerings. Spaces, according to Google, is mean to be for “small group sharing” with the company’s services built right into it.
Google believes it never had a decent group sharing experience, and that’s why Spaces exists. Rather than grabbing links and manually inserting them, this messaging platform has Google services at the ready for sharing between users. Google Search, YouTube, and Chrome are all embedded in Spaces.
A space is the topic-focused place where everyone gets together to start sharing with each other. When something is catches your eye and begs to be shared, you can just remain in Spaces because of the integrated services. And it’s all search-friendly.
The Spaces app, which follows Material Design in an interesting way, appears like any other messaging app you’ve seen. The real difference is the access to Google Search, YouTube, and Chrome. While messaging other users, you can view content in the same app.
Spaces is live right now on Android and iOS with dedicated apps, but Google is also enabling access on desktop and mobile web. The only requirement is a Gmail account.
We’ll be waiting for the Google I/O 2016 keynote on Wednesday to see if Hangouts is put to rest for an overhauled messaging platform. It has long been rumored that Google is working on an AI-powered messaging platform and the multi-day event this week could be when we finally see it.