A month ago, Google has a number of communication services that simply do not talk to each other. There is Google Talk which is much like Yahoo Messenger, or AIM. There is Google Voice which uses Google Talk, but offers a phone number. This can also integrate with an Android phone. There is Google Plus Messenger which is a comparison to Facebook Messenger.
However, just recently (2013-05-21), Google has announce Hangout, and offers it as a replacement to Google Talk. It also offers video, and VOIP services for those using Google Plus. The idea will eventually be to replace all of the services with Hangout. Name aside, this is not a great idea, but they do have some parts in the right direction.
There is no doubt that Google needs to get their messaging house in order, but there are already unforeseen consequences, and with Google’s terrible support options, this is not a good thing.
First, Hangouts should just be named messenger. It will make transition easier – especially for novices on Android. It will replace the Messaging app, the Google Plus Messenger, and Google Talk service. It will offer VOIP and video calls for others with this Messenger. It will also integrate with Google Voice for SMS, and MMS. Google just have to do things on their back end, and get the carriers to work with their numbers.
As for Google Voice, there is currently an application that must be installed. Google Voice should have been integrated in Android since 4.0, and even at 2.3.4 could have done some integrated support. If it could integrate within the dialer, this will just require an option to use Carrier or Google Voice.
When a user provides the Google Credentials, it will be able to check if there is Google Voice services. If so, then it can offer the option then. Google could go one step forward by providing integrated capabilities to make Wifi calls – simply by using SIP, and actually doing something with the Gizmo infrastructure.
What is Accomplished
First, the popularity for Google Voice will be increased. In addition, with integration directly with the dialer, this will mean one less app to manage and update. If SIP is integrated, the user can set the phone to carry calls via Wifi when possible. This will save money for some cellular phone users, and eventually help emerging markets. Only condition will be that Google Voice has to be integrated. The dialer will also support Google Video and other Voice services.
Messenger will handle all Google Talk, and ideally, Google should integrate other IM protocols such as AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo. The user will use the Contact information, and simply send as it is to the person. Obviously, the end user will need respective accounts. SMS/MMS for both the carrier, and Google Voice. MMS in reality can be treated as an attachment with Google Talk protocols. If Google wanted to be adventurous, they could even tie GMail into the Messenger.
So, this would mean voice, SIP, and video is handled by one app, while Messenger will handle Email, SMS/MMS, and IM. The two formats will work together and interoperate. This will also mean less app management on Google’s part, and even be able to integrate the services they offer into a system that makes sense.