Google messaging app

According to Android Authority, since the launch of Google Talk in 2005, Google has emphasized the importance of people using the company’s services to communicate with one another. In fact, Google thinks it’s so important, that it made more Google-branded messaging platforms than it knows what to do with, each one offering similar functions with minor tweaks.

All the different Google messaging apps can be confusing, and it doesn’t help that Google continually disables services, re-brands them, or integrates features from one app into another. But, according to Google (via Computer World), it will not wrap all the messaging services under one roof:

We’ve designed specific products for distinct use cases, so we don’t intend to have one app that does everything for everyone. We think we can better serve our users by creating products that function really well, and users can choose the product that best suits their needs.

While this sounds good on paper, it also makes things bewildering for the user when it comes to sticking with one app for one function. For example, a user could use Google Duo, Google Voice, or Hangouts to make a phone call. Which one should they use? Why is one of them better than any other? Before we take a look at all the current Google messaging apps, let’s look back Google’s messaging history.

History

Google’s first attempt at a messaging application was arguably its best. It was called Google Talk (sometimes colloquially referred to as Google Chat or Gchat) and you could use it to chat with anyone on any platform, even if they didn’t have a Google account. The Gmail web portal had a browser-based chat box, so you didn’t have to install any software. There was an Android app, a Windows app, and even a BlackBerry app. However, Google Talk was based on an open-source protocol called XMPP.