Tech

Google 'Babble' Chat: Talk, Voice, Hangout, And Drive Collaboration To Join Like Voltron

By Zach White , Mar 18, 2013 05:04 PM EDT

Having spent the past decade throwing dozens of projects against the wall to see what sticks, Google is starting to work on cleaning up the mess.

Rumors began circulating the Web on Monday (and we’re doing our part), saying Google is looking to consolidate the many forms of chat services it offers into one monolith, allegedly to be named Babble.

Geek.com claimed on Monday that “multiple sources reporting separately to Geek.com” had started to spread the news that the mess of Google’s current chatting landscape may soon see some scrubbing.

Currently Google’s chat world is spread among Google Talk (with separate versions on Gmail and Google+), Google Voice, Google Hangout, Google Drive collaboration chats and more.

The rumor is that all of these services will be united under a new protocol being designed in-house and will be called Babble.

Some, including rumor origin Geek.com, are skeptical but hopeful of Google’s ability to strong-arm users into a new service that is, in some ways, more limited than what they’re used to.

“The service is flexible, scalable, and has served Google well for quite a while,” Geek.com said. “In order to use Google’s chat service, especially the new Babble service, you’ll need to be using it the way Google wants you to use it. That’s not going to sit well with many users at first, but the quality and performance of the service will be more than enough to make most users happy.”

The article says that Geek.com has been told to expect some sort of presentation on the unification process during the big Google I/O conference in May, which could tie in well with other expected news of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie and Nexus phone announcements.

The article also notes that all of these chat and messaging services work now, and are expected to work, on both Chrome and Android platforms. This sounds like it could tie somewhat into the confusion that remains in the wake of Andy Rubin stepping down last week as the head of Android, which led to the Android and Chrome team being consolidated under Sundar Pichai.

Another interesting note is that Babble sounds like Babel, as in Babelfish, the translation Web app that Google competitor Yahoo bought years ago and has recently folded into Bing. Google has noted its intention many times to pioneer real-time translation services. Maybe text translation could be built into the chat software to allow instant messaging without borders?

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