Google promises to unify Google Talk, Hangouts, and Messenger

by: LucianJune 28, 2012

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.

  • WestIndiesKING

    this is something that has driven me nuts since they came out with the messenger client. This would be a great way to get people in love with your service. Comon google make this happen!

  • + they bought meebo, so the final product better be good.

  • Alu Zeros

    ive been preaching this all over the web for a long time, about time other people feel the same way and making an awarness of this.

  • iMessage is the one and only thing I miss about my iPhone. If Google could integrate all of their messaging products into one, unified app (including text messaging) it would be absolutely incredible and much better than anything Apple could hope to accomplish.

  • rykellim

    I would like Google to unify her messenging tools too! G+ Messenger and GTalk are confusing me and my friends. (video vs video+voice)… then, on the desktop, you have GTalk but G+ web interface does NOT have G+ Messenger. You get the idea. :P

  • Frank John

    It’s about time! Makes much sense. I look forward to the day.

  • Naterz

    I moved to Facebook Messenger and deleted my Google+ Profile. The Duplication between Google+ and Google Talk made some things break. For example, if I tried to start a Google Talk Video Chat with my mom from Gmail, it sent a Google+ Hangout request. I had to have her send it from her phone to me for it to work correctly. Absolutely terrible user experience there. Wasn’t worth the trouble. Had her install Skype instead, and went on about our business.
    Google+ 1:1 Hangouts require too much manual labor to get going compared to Google Talk or Skype. That wasn’t worth it, either.

    Google+ Messenger has some benefits over Google Talk. For one you can do SMS out with Google+ Messenger, but not with Google Talk. Secondly, it has Sent, Delivered, and Read notifications – albeit a bit dubious since they’re only a graphic and you have to Google to see what each icon means before it makes sense. Thirdly, you can send images in Google+ Messenger. Google Talk has no file transfer, at all.
    The thing I hate about Google+ Messenger is that there is no easily accessible buddy list with icons to start 1:1 Voice or Video Chats like Google Talk. Secondly, the UI is poorly designed in that it puts both you and the other people you’re talking to on the same side of the screen. Google Talk doesn’t do that, and looks less cluttered as a result.
    Once Microsoft releases an updated Skype Android client, it will be superior to Google Talk because all WLM users will be on Skype, there should still be the interoperability with Yahoo! Messenger users – another IM network much bigger than Google Talk is currently, and there should be Facebook Chat integration in it. With Facebook using Skype for its Web Video Chat, that will be a powerful driver for Skype adoption!

  • It’s the beginning of 2013 and not a peep has been discussed about this anywhere. I envision a Google Voice, Google Talk, G+ Messenger app unified into one Google Messenger app. The app will choose which service to use on the back end based on the availability of the 2nd party or a pre set contact preference. At any point a conversation could go from text, to phone call (a real phone call NOT Voice Chat), or to Video Hangout. At any point other parties could be added or removed to participate in the conversation. Maybe even open a shared document in Google docs from the conversation??

  • 10 months later…not so much as a whisper. I’m hoping that means they’re working on streamlining the services and not just having an app that supports multiple backend services. Like genuinely combining the Talk and Messenger chat services, combining Talk Video services with Hangouts, and running them all through the Google+ service. Or just combing the user databases for services so that the outdated ones can be cancelled altogether.