In addition to the recently rumored Google Keep service, Google is also speculated to be working on a unified messaging service called Babble. Babble, however, won’t be something entirely new to add to Google’s expanding portfolio of communications products, but will be a product that will aggregate existing Google communications product into one unified messaging client.
Citing reports from multiple sources, Geek.com reports that Babble will merge services like Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google Hangouts, and Google Voice. Communications will be pulled together and grouped into threads in a unified manner.
Most of Google’s chat services over the years have been cobbled together from sealed off manipulations of an open chat platform called XMPP. The service is flexible, scalable, and has served Google well for quite a while. Google’s recent decision to block non-native XMPP requests is the first step towards building their own closed communications platform. In order to use Google’s chat service, especially the new Babble service, you’ll need to be using it the way Google wants you to use it. That’s not going to sit well with many users at first, but the quality and performance of the service will be more than enough to make most users happy.
We’ve heard of a unified messaging client before, and it was reported in early February that Google would be working on unified messaging notifications for its Chrome OS platform. There was a screenshot showing stacked notifications for various messaging clients grouped together.
It’s unclear at this time if Babble will be targeted only at Chrome OS, or if it will make its way across to Android as well. A venue where Google could potentially unveil Babble would be at the developer conference; Google I/O will be kicking off in mid-May.
Reducing some of the clutter with messaging would be helpful. Apple integrates SMS and iMessages together into a Message app. Microsoft goes a step further and shows threaded messaging for Facebook chat and SMS messages. And then there is BlackBerry 10 with its BlackBerry Hub that gives you all your messages from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, emails, SMS, BBM, and more in one consolidated hub.
And given that Google itself operates many of those communication services–Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Google Voice, and others–combining those services together into one client would make sense. It would also allow Google to better market these features to consumers. And given the huge popularity of Android right now, having a consolidated service could help Google compete more effectively with Facebook Chat, Apple’s iMessage, and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).