Rumor Mill: Google unifying messaging platforms with Babble app


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is reportedly readying Babble, a cross-platform application that combines the company's multiple messaging and chat options into a single service.

Citing multiple sources with knowledge of Google's plans, reports Babble will collect services including Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, Hangout and Drive Chat. The app will integrate signature features of each service, enabling users to share photos in chat windows a la Google+ Messenger or start Hangout conversations with anyone in their contacts list. "Moving forward, the individual services will all be pushed onto the single platform, and you'll be able to use the same chat window across all of Google's products with the same features available everywhere," the report states.

Insiders say Google is building Babble from the ground up and will offer native apps for its Android mobile operating system and its Chrome desktop OS. Additional reports indicate Google will also offer Babble across the rival Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) mobile platforms. The exact timetable for Babble's release is unknown, although reports Google will officially announce the effort during its annual I/O developer conference in May. Google has not commented on the reports.

Babble would not only challenge Apple's iMessage (which transmits more than 2 billion messages per day between iOS devices) and BlackBerry Messenger (used by three out of every four BlackBerry device owners, corresponding to roughly 60 million active users worldwide) but also conventional operator messaging offerings and fast-growing over-the-top options like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Messenger, WhatsApp and Viber. While Babble would be a late arrival to the battlefield, the overwhelming popularity of Google services and Android's smartphone market dominance would establish the app as a serious threat from the outset.

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