iMessage beware, Google Babble is coming

Google Babble icon (small)

The Internet giant Google, reportedly adamant to solve its instant messaging conundrum, is working on consolidating its many chat services and folding them under a new brand name – Google Babble. Not sure whether Babble is just a code-name, but I’d definitely chose a different moniker because the term ‘babble’ doesn’t just denote chatter, it also means “to utter a meaningless confusion of words” and “talk foolishly or idly”.

Be that as it may, a new report Monday claims knowledge of an all-new IM solution from Google designed around organizing chats by conversation rather than by people, no matter what chat service they happen to be using. It’s said to support video, audio, file transfers and threaded conversations across all the existing services. Go right past the break for more tidbits… has the scoop, based on “multiple sources” reporting separately, that Google is building its new service fresh from the ground up:

Google’s quest to continue unifying their products is about to enter its next phase. According to multiple sources, the company’s next step includes unifying their messaging platforms into a single service, which is expected to be called Babble.

No word on whether this thing will be provided as an app for Apple devices. We should learn more at Google I/O 2013, which takes place May 15-17 in San Francisco.

Now, I’ve been a long time Google users and its hugely annoying IM mess has been ticking me off. With Google, you can exchange messages using Google Talk, Gmail chat, Google+ Hangout, Google Voice, Chat for Drive, to name just a few.

While most of these are XMPP-based, Google recently made cross-platform compatibility and collaboration a tad tougher by blocking non-native XMPP requests.

google+ hangouts ipad
A Hangout session using the official Google+ app for iPad.

“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,” writer Russell Holly claims.

He’s citing the quality and performance as the main reasons you’d want to play ball.

Babble continues Google’s trend towards organization by conversation. 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.

This all sounds very logical given the sad state of Google’s IM landscape: each service has its own set of often incompatible features and various limitations. Worse, some maintain their chat lists separately of other Google chat products, making the dream of a unified communications solutions just that, a dream.

Clearly, some heavy streamlining is needed. While Google Talk comes preinstalled on Android devices (with Google+ with Hangouts on newer hardware), these are still a far cry from Blackberry’s Messenger and Apple’s iMessage.

iOS 5 iMessage (People, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad)

As you know, iMessage is built deeply into the bowels of the operating system and right into the stock Messages application, blurring the line between carrier-based text messaging and Internet-based instant messaging.

To me, iMessage – along with Facebook integration and Notification Center – is the most useful iOS feature in years.

It would have of course been even better had tech giants had the foresight to work out cross-platform compatibility for their proprietary services because I do want to exchange chat messages with my non-Apple-totting friends.

Even limited to Apple’s gadgets only, iMessage has proved itself tremendously useful.

I bet you’re a heavy iMessage user yourself, no?