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Google developing unified chat service called Babble, according to report

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

Google’s got a huge communication problem right now. If you take a look at all of their services, you’ll find a series of communications platforms that don’t interact with each other very well, if at all. Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive collaboration, and the pseudo Google Talk for G+ all function just a little differently from one another. The only two that really function together are Google Talk for Gmail and G+, but ask anyone using the two systems and you’ll hear just how bad things are right now.

There’s not an easy fix for the situation, but a cross platform solution would enable Google to overtake platforms like iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger in one sweeping gesture. According to multiple sources reporting separately, this service is being called Babble, and it’s being built fresh from the ground up to solve these problems.

Babble continues Google’s trend towards organisation 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.

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 its 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 may not sit well with many users at first, but the quality and performance of the service could be enough to make most users happy.

No official timeframe for the release of this rebranding has been made clear, but we’ve been told to expect a presentation on the unification of these products during Google I/O this year. Since this service comes with a new app across Android and Chrome OS, it’s not totally clear how it will be unveiled officially.

For now, users should just be excited that Google is finally addressing an issue that has been affecting their platforms for several years now.