December 23, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
Google has products that allow people to communicate in a variety of formats. There’s Google Talk for instant messaging on mobile or desktop, Google Messenger for communicating just within your Google+ circles, and Google Voice for sending SMS messages. Each app takes a different approach, but they all share one common goal – enable communication between users.
Should that shared goal mean that they also share an app?
Since Huddles became Messenger, I’ve seen several people on Google+ and Twitter complain about the lack of integration with Google Talk. In the eyes of a few people I follow, Google is making a mistake by enabling mobile-to-desktop communication with GTalk, but not doing the same for mobile-only Messenger. Wouldn’t it make sense to unify the two experiences so users could just as easily chat with someone in Google Talk and Messenger without having to switch between apps or worry about where they communicated with someone. A unified inbox might simplify things for some users.
Then there’s the opposition that would prefer to see these products remain separate. Google Talk is for my closest circle of co-workers and online friends. These are the people who I have given permission to shoot a message at any time and regularly chat. My Google+ circles are a different story. I’m not sure if I’d like to see all of the messages that I’ve been invited to through Google+ or have those same users appear when I just want to chat with the people on my GTalk list. I’m sure Google could come up with some kind of way to provide filtering and permissions to allay that concern, but it seems like more trouble than it’s worth.
In the past week, I’ve seen two different reddit discussions in which people ask why Google doesn’t just merge its two messaging clients into one app. In one of them, someone claims to have been in a Hangout with a Google+ Product Manager who said that Google will eventually replace Talk with Messenger and enable across the board communication on mobile and desktop. Take that with a giant grain of salt, but it’s plausible that Google might do that.
The question is: would you welcome that change?