TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
Google has built a number of communications platforms around different services over the years. There's Google Talk for text, voice and video chats, Hangouts for group video conferencing, Messenger for mobile messaging, Chat for Drive collaboration, and Voice for online voicemail and merging all your phone numbers into one.
They're mostly based on an open platform called XMPP but they don't always interact with each other very well – if at all. According to a report on Geek.com, however, that's about to change soon.
Google is reportedly working to combine its existing communication platforms into one unified service called Babble. Details are scarce at the moment but the site's unnamed sources believe the service is likely to be unveiled at Google I/O in mid-May. Not a lot is expected in the way of new features, but rather a consistent experience across platforms and services, and Geek.com says the change will happen in two phases:
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.
Babble is expected to come with new apps for Android and Chrome OS – and if past experience is any indication it will eventually come to iOS too. Having a consolidated service could help Google compete more effectively with the likes of Facebook Chat, Apple's iMessage, and BlackBerry Messenger.
This isn't the first time we've heard about Google looking to unify its communications platforms. Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal admitted as much in last year's I/O conference. Back in February, developer François Beaufort also sparked some speculation that such as service was in the works after posting a screenshot to his Google+ showing off an icon with four messaging bubbles piled on each other.