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Summary:

Google has Google Talk for text, voice and video chats, Hangouts for group video conferencing and Messenger for mobile messaging. All of these properties could one day merge into a more unified experience, the Google+ Hangouts team said at Google I/O Wednesday.

hangouts baking

Google is working on unifying its various real-time messaging applications across all devices, and the result could be a unified messenger that allows you to do one-on-one chats as well as group video Hangouts. That’s the major news out of a session with the Google+ Hangouts team at Google I/O Wednesday afternoon.

Asked about why Google has multiple different services for video chat and messaging, including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger and Google+ Hangouts, Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal admitted: “We have done an incredibly poor job servicing our users here.” Singhal 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, who has been credited with inventing Google+ Hangouts, also shared a few more details about how Google uses Hangouts internally. The company uses video conferencing for virtually all of its meetings, and Singhal said that this has been completely switched to Hangouts as a video conferencing solution. “We do over 10,000 hangouts every day at Google,” he said.

So which other features are coming to Hangouts? Chew and Singhal didn’t share too many specifics, but said that they’re striving to make any Hangouts feature available on every supported device. This includes allowing mobile phone users to start a Hangout on Air, which will essentially bring mobile social live streaming to Google+ and YouTube.

  1. Finally, this is what should’ve happened as soon as Google+ was released. 3 separate but parallel messaging services has never made sense.

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    1. 4, don’t forget google voice

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      1. Austin Harper Thursday, June 28, 2012

        I would love to get Google Voice integrated with Gmail at least so I can search for texts, voicemail, and email all in the same place.

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  2. I never thought of the messenger app and hang outs as separate products.

    Another product with similar service that I would like to see Google integrate with these apps is Google Voice.

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  3. Robert MacEwan Thursday, June 28, 2012

    I’d like to see Gizmo5 functionality brought under this wing too.

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  4. I’m going to believe this when I see it. The press has given Google an unbelievable (and undeserved) pass on Google’s inability to really manage user accounts (whatever happened to the promise that we would be able to merge them).

    And not being able to start a group chat while mobile and continue on the desktop!!

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  5. steve gross Monday, July 30, 2012

    They must also allow settings so a user could receive video calls from anyone, or optionally only allow calls from users in the contact list, like Skype does. Right now, the “high security” hard coding in hangout makes it such a multi step process to start a hangout with even your best friend- you have to first add them to a circle, then they have to respond to the email, they must sign up, and then they have to add you to their circle. Too many steps, too many places where people can forget one step while you are waiting to talk to them

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