Ever since the launch of Google’s “social layer”, Google+, the guys in Mountain View have been trying to focus on fewer products, instead of the scatter-shot approach on products they had before. But while they have streamlined many of their products and services in the past months, there’s one area where things have gotten worse since the launch of Google+, and that’s Google’s own messenger clients.
There is Google Talk (with video), then there is Hangouts, and then we have the Google+ Messenger, originally launched as Google Huddle. You might even count the SMS app on Android as a different product – Apple actually unified their data-based Messenger with the SMS app, and I think that’s a very good idea that Google should follow. They should be trying to blur the lines between an Internet Messenging and texting.
While there’s no indication yet that Google is planning to merge the texting app into a unified messenger, there’s at least hope that they will do it soon for their others products. When asked why Google has multiple different services for video chat and messaging, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and Google+ Hangouts, Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal said “We have done an incredibly poor job servicing our users here.” Singhal also said that Google doesn’t have anything to announce at this point, but that the company is definitely working on unifying all of these experiences.
Singhal and his colleague Chee Chew, the inventor of Google+ Hangouts, say that internally, Googlers are now using Hangouts over 10,000 times every day. It has replaced all video conference solutions for them. While this can be seen as another form of dog fooding (using their own products), I doubt they would’ve used it on such a large scale if the product wasn’t that good.
Since Android 4.1 was announced yesterday and nothing was mentioned about unifying the messengers, we can only hope that this will happen by the November release of Android 5.0.