updated 12:21 pm EDT, Tue March 19, 2013
Cross-platform system to consolidate existing IM systems
Google is looking towards unifying its messaging platforms into one single service, according to rumors. Called Babble, the new service would provide cross-platform communications between the various Google services, such as Google Talk, Google Hangouts, and Google Voice, replacing them all with a single common method.
Multiple sources speaking to Geek.com claim that Google is building Babble "fresh from the ground up" in order to consolidate all of the services together. The prospective service would allow users to share images in chat windows, start Hangouts with contact lists, and generally provide the same feature set through every Google product.
The future service is likely to be based on XMPP, an open platform for chat and messaging services already used in Google Talk, as well as other products. Typically open for non-native XMPP requests, it is suggested that Google's step in blocking such requests is a first step towards a closed communications platform, one that could end up being larger than BlackBerry Messenger and iMessage.
No timeframe has been mentioned for Babble's release, but it is said that more details relating to product unification will be issued during Google I/O in May.