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Summary:

Google needs a way to knit together its various communications products — and this could be it. I actually suggested something similar in a blog post a couple of years ago.

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photo: Corbis / Jim Frazier

Google is looking to bring all its communications products into a single product, Babble, according to a report in Geek.com.  When asked to comment, a Google spokesperson declined to speculate on rumors. The report goes on to outline:

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 to 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 to Geek.com, this service is being called Babble, and it’s being built fresh from the ground up to solve these problems.

If this is true, then I think it is a capital idea, and I’m glad to see Google finally getting around to this kind of thinking. About two years ago, I wrote How Google can beat Facebook. No, it’s not on the web, where I proposed that Google should build a Babble-like service.

…instead of getting bogged down by the old-fashioned notion of communication – phone calls, emails, instant messages and text messages – it needs to think about interactions. In other words, Google needs to think of a world beyond Google Talk, Google Chat and Google Voice. To me, interactions are synchronous, are highly personal, are location-aware and allow the sharing of experiences, whether it’s photographs, video streams or simply smiley faces. Interactions are supposed to mimic the feeling of actually being there. Interactions are about enmeshing the virtual with the physical. Google has access to real-world intimacy – the mobile phone address book – thanks to Android OS. All it has to do is use that as a lever to facilitate interactions. Ability to interact on an ongoing basis anywhere, any time and sharing everything, from moments to emotions – is what social is all about. From my vantage point, this is what Google should focus on.

Looks like they listened. Hey Vic, next time you are paying for coffee.

  1. Tom Guarriello Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    And what happens when the pull the plug like they did with Reader?

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    1. They are doing this to keep from pulling the plug. It makes sense to integrate these services. These communication systems are essential to Google.

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    2. They pulled the plug on Reader because RSS is going the way of the dinosaurs. When communication starts going extinct, that is when they will pull the plug on Babble.

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  2. Given Google’s recent track record they’ll most likely ruin the products we use while doing this.
    I already started talking with friends about what we would use if things go wrong.

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  3. Matthew Fiori Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    When Google becomes an outright communications provider, something they are obviously cutting their teeth on in Kansas as we speak, these things are going to simply melt into each other.
    If you act with any surprise at this rumor, you obviously don’t have a Chromebook. The
    work to make these devices (really really big) ‘phones’ is already on its way into production.

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    1. The only surprise here is that it took them so long to do it. Don’t really see why they had to re-work several chat implementations, when they could use the first one (GTalk) and gradually add features.
      I just home that XMPP with federation stays. Otherwise it will be just be Yet Another Walled Garden Messaging Service thrown in the pond.

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  4. I am concerned about what that will do to Google Voice.

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  5. If your speculation is correct and they are heeding your insight it’s shockingly slow performance from Google. Maybe they should call it Jabba – kind of provides a visual.

    And, yes, like Tom G. says, what happens when they change the playing field a couple of years later? where’s the long-term vision?

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  6. You’re living Google’s vision right now. But do you really expect them to pull an Apple and stagnate to death? There Is the future to consider as far as your “change” rants go …

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  7. I solved this issue in my head a while back…they need an “EGOT”, or what we will call GMHP. Collaboration creates advances for society and broader audience.

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