Google to unify Gmail, Drive, Hangouts Chat with it new developed mobile app

Google to unify Gmail, Drive, Hangouts Chat with it new developed mobile app

Google is working on a mobile application for businesses that brings together the functions of several standalone apps the company already offers, including Gmail and its online storage service Drive. The move could help it compete more effectively with application suites from Microsoft and others, according to two people who have used the application and three people briefed about it.

The new mobile app, which is currently being tested internally at Google, also includes Hangouts Meet, Google’s video conferencing app and Hangouts Chat, a real-time message app, according to the people.

It sounds like the same sales pitch given for the “Google Hangouts Chat” service that was developed for GSuite in 2018, but when Google messaging services come and go like the seasons of the year, you can’t expect every single one to have a unique premise.

According to the report, this “new unified communications app” will merge functions from Gmail, Drive, Hangouts Chat, and Hangouts Meet. Slack already lets you send messages, share files, and do video chats, which covers most of these apps. Pulling in features from Gmail, though, like the last email you sent the person you’re messaging, would be unique and genuinely useful. One alarming thing about the report is that it refers to this service as a “mobile app” and doesn’t mention anything about a Web or desktop app, which is how many employees primarily use Slack.

News that the app will pull in Hangouts Chat features makes us wonder what will happen to the actual Hangouts Chat service. One of the current plans in the Google messaging mess is to merge Google’s biggest consumer chat platform, Hangouts, with Hangouts Chat, its current enterprise chat platform (despite the similar names, the two apps are unrelated). If Hangouts Chat is merging into something else, does that mean the plan to migrate consumer Hangouts over isn’t happening?

If this service launches, it would be Google’s tenth messaging app, after (say it with me!) Google Talk, Google Voice, Google Buzz, Google+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, Allo, Hangouts Chat, and Google Messages. Google’s inability to stick with a single messaging platform and its penchant for shutting down services has left its users very suspicious of any new messaging app from the company. It’s hard to know what messaging apps are sticking around and which ones are flashes in the pan that will be gone in a year. Messaging apps rely on the network effects of an established user base to be useful, and when the company is constantly shutting down existing services and spinning up new ones, it’s hard to establish any user base.

Google’s I/O conference tends to be a big vacuum for all of these announcements, so maybe we’ll learn more at the show in May.