Google has been up-front about its desire to streamline to become a more focused company. Likely as part of that effort, Google reportedly is working on a project that will bring all of its messaging platforms under a single umbrella, expected to be called Babble.
Geek.com reported the rumor March 18, citing multiple sources who the news site said reported to it separately.
Google's various communications platforms—Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive, etc.—don't interact well, if at all. But if Google could find a more complementary approach, it could have a serious impact on BlackBerry's popular Messenger service and Apple's iMessage.
With Babble, Geek.com explained:
You can share photos in chat windows just like you would in G+ Messenger, start a Hangout with anyone in your contact list, and the conversations are threaded across all the existing services. Moving forward, the individual services will all be pushed onto the single platform, and you'll be able to use the same chat window across all of Google's products with the same features available everywhere. It's not so much releasing a new product as it is pulling together all of the existing products under a single branding. ... 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.
According to the sources, Google will give a presentation on Babble at its I/O developer conference, which will run May 15 through 17 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
That Google's various messaging and communications services don't interact was not a result of oversight but of privacy policies. Before changes that Google announced in January, it couldn't allow the data in an app to be shared with another.
Google announced March 13 that as part of its on-going spring-cleaning efforts, it will retire Google Reader, whose usage has declined, as of July 1.
Google also plans to retire Building Maker June 1; to make its CalDAV API available to whitelisted developers but—as of Sept. 16—no one else; and to turn off the Google Cloud Connect plug-in as of April 30.
Still additionally, the search engine giant plans to discontinue the availability of its GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in Apps Script in order to focus its efforts on Html Service; to stop updating its Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows (though it will continue to offer the free Snapseed mobile app for iOS and Android); and to end support for the Google Voice App for BlackBerry.
Changes are never easy, said Google, adding, "But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products that really help in [our users'] lives."