With Google I/O rapidly approaching, the tech public is expecting the announcement of Babel, the new unified messaging client that should hopefully unite all of Mountain View’s chat services under one roof. With all the disparate messaging services available these days, it’s nice to see someone trying to bring everything together.
Quite frankly, messaging these days is absurd. Right now, we personally keep separate apps for SMS, reddit, Facebook, Google+, Skype and WhatsApp to chat with certain people. That’s absurd when you think about it. Why is chat so fragmented? Shouldn’t there be a way to do everything in one place.
We’ve compiled a wish list of everything we’d like in the ideal messaging client. Will this happen? Some of it, sure. Will we get all of it? No, probably not. That in mind, here’s what we want in a unified messaging app.
This one seems like common sense, but then you have people like the CEO of WhatsApp insisting that they won’t ever make a desktop client for their service.
That’s bull. A lot of people spend all day in front of a computer and prefer to use that rather than reach for their phone every time they get a message. Plus, it’s easier to type on a real keyboard.
The ideal unified messaging app would be like Netflix. Sign up for it once, get access to it on every device you own: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Windows, OS X – we should be able to use it everywhere we go.
Imagine hearing a notification from your phone while you’re working on the computer. You open the chat client, mark the message as read, and reply. The data would sync across your devices, hopefully without issue.
Include everything under one roof
Unified messaging should be exactly that. One client to rule them all and bind them across one service.
This differs from current solutions because right now, companies are pushing people toward their own service at the cost of supporting other services.
For example, if Babel is really a thing, it probably will not support Facebook messaging. It’s just not in Google’s interest to push a competitor’s services.
And yet our theoretical messaging client should absolutely combine those two services, because people use them all the time.
For the ideal messenger, we want it all. Skype, GTalk, WhatsApp, Steam, everything. All our messages should be in one place.
Don’t leave SMS behind
There is one rumor that Babel won’t support SMS, instead opting for GTalk. The new service will not include traditional messaging.
It wouldn’t surprise us. It’s firmly in the interests of Apple and Google to push us away from the carriers and toward their messaging systems.
However, these systems leave behind everyone who still operates a “dumbphone” and can’t run Android or iOS. There is a sizable portion of adults without smartphones. The future should include them too.
Customization without bloat
Uniting all those services under one app sounds great. The problem is that it may not be the best course of action in terms of design.
Out of all the messaging services out there, how many does the average person use? Do they really need access to Skype, Facebook, and GTalk all in one place? Will they even bother using them?
The plethora of services plus the necessary customization options which accompany each would create a large app. It’s hard to know what to include without bloating it.
Get the users
This is the number one problem with almost every messaging service out there besides SMS. The userbase just isn’t there.
Not everyone’s on Facebook. Few people have a Google+. Most use SMS. Some prefer Skype. The issue with all these services is that they don’t have enough users.
The ideal messaging service would be built to be universal, to have Facebook’s level of overall users. If you can’t talk to your friends on a service, it’s useless.
Uniting everyone else’s services under one roof could do that, in theory.
Like we said before, all this would be a hell of a feat of programming. We’d be surprised if someone managed to support anything and everything. ShortFuse is trying to do this with Fusion Messenger, but it’ll be a little bit before that’s done. In the meantime, we’ll just keep using those different apps, waiting for something better.
What messaging apps are you juggling? Let us know in the comments below!