BBM, iMessage, and Google What? Google Talk.


At WWDC this year, Apple announced iMessage, essentially a clone of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger). Several sources are now reporting that Google has been working on their own “Google Messenger”. For example, our friend Andrew Kameka at Androinica.

Following Apple’s promise to deliver an iOS 5 messaging platform that mirrors the functionality of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has been hard at work doing the same. Before you say, “Duh, Android already has GTalk,” that is not the same. BBM is more advanced because it has file and location sharing, groups, and other features that are all optimized for the mobile experience.

But my first thought is, “Duh, why not just improve Google Talk for the mobile experience and include these types of options along with the ability to customize your experience?”

I never really understood the complete obsession with BBM since you can only BBM other BlackBerry owners. The same would go (I assume) for iMessage. So why would Google want to create a closed messaging system in an otherwise open mobile environment?

They wouldn’t. Google talk already works cross platform. In my opinion, if they’re going to make a change, it should simply be one of a rebranding. Change Google Talk to Google Messenger and change Google Voice to Google Talk. Instead of creating a new product that will compete with the product you already have, why not just improve the currently awesome service you’ve got to make it more feature filled and flexible?

If some type of “Google Messager” feature/app is being reported by the WSJ and other respected media outlets I won’t deny it… I just don’t see how it’s of strategic interest to Google. Eager to hear your thoughts on BBM vs. iMessage vs. Google Talk below, as well as the prospects of Google launching their own (additional) messaging platform.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Pft, I don’t want to communicate with anyone who doesn’t own an Android anyways… :D

  2. Google Talk and Voice should be rolled into one app that can be used in the same way BBM and iMessage can (ie no need to add contacts and use the already existing phone contacts) Voice calls can then be enabled on devices/regions that support it, allowing it to be enabled on devices when regions/carries support it without having to update the device firmware.

    Google, Apple, BB, MS should all use WhatsApp or something similar so it doesn’t matter which platform you use, but like that will ever happen!

    1. because WhatsApp is a fly by night 3rd party vendor that charges it’s users and is used by less then any of their company branded messenger apps. These companies want THEIR product being your primary messaging app. It makes no sense at all for anyone for WhatsApp to be pushed by the big companies. 

      If they made GoogleTalk more like bbm that would make ALOT more sense.

      1. What you speak is the tuth, and business wise, it would make no sense for them to use WhatsApp.

        With that said…i was even using WhatsApp on my BB when i had one, and i must admit…with the exception of the BBM group features, its a close second to BbM over GTalk or any other messenger svc.

  3. True, it’s not in googles best interests to make android exclusive services like bbm.

  4. That’s actually a REALLY good idea.

  5. I think, GTALK is pretty solid anyway.. They just have to add file tranfer capabilities.. thats it..

    1. The desktop client used to have this functionality. I loved that. Now that it is integrated with Gmail via a browser the file transfer functionality went by the wayside.

    2. Google Talk is awesome.  Unfortunately, the mobile version doesn’t support File Transfer.  If it did, I wouldn’t have to send MMS messages that often.

  6. Leave it to Professional Industry Business Analysts to say the weirdest shit.

  7. Yeah I’ve been using Google Voice to text via a wi-fi connection on my iPod Touch/iPad for over a year now…so Apple was a bit late to the game on that one. I absolutely swear by GV.  I don’t really need the Google Talk functionality built in since it’s already internet messaging to begin with

  8. Creating a separate product is a really bad idea. I love Google Talk because I can chat on my phone or from the web browser as I please and it’s all integrated. I totally agree that any new functionality should be incorporated into Google Talk. If this requires rebranding with a new name, logo then that is fine but please do not create a new product that causes confusion and large overlapping features within Google’s own products.

  9. You dont understand the obsession with BBM so you do recognize that there IS and obsession with BBM.  So why would you not want Google to come up with something like it?  Obviously it will become an obsession as well.  Thing I like about BBM is that its quick, I can chat with friends/family that have BBM anywhere in the world without having to pay extra fees.  This would be great if Android devices offered something like this being that they’re so popular nowadays who cares if its limited to android devices. 

    1. Hey,
      I have the Metro Android so does this mean that BBM won’t work on my phone huh? Will Google Talk or any of those messengers work with people that have BBM they have Blackberry’s..   Tyou, NPC

      1. BBM won’t work on Android. Developers are trying to make it work but they haven’t yet. Google Talk will work on a BlackBerry though, the people with the BalckBerry just have to install the app on their phone and sign in with their Google ID, just like you have to on your Android. Then you’ll be able to talk with them like you would if you had BBM.

  10. Well Google has been working in an Android MSN, they bought a company named Slide and this company have an Android MSN named Disco, you can test it its free in the market or visit .

  11. Hope they improve gtalk soon. It’s one of my most used apps on my phone

  12. Add file transfer to gtalk and you got one of the most complete messaging app. Text, voice, video ….

  13. I use to say this to myself all the time, why wont they just update it to have such features its the main reason no one uses it! How hard can it be to write a couple lines of code. People get paid to come up with these ideas? Its like common sense.

  14. What Gtalk needs is file transfer and the ability to read the message state (R, D, S)

  15. The nice thing about iMessage is that it replaces the SMS app.  It automatically determines if your contact has an iMessage compatible device and if not will just send an SMS. 

    1. Right.  This is the one thing iMessage does that I find interesting.  The featureset is basically nothing new.  Even having messaging other than SMS/MMS squeezed into the Messaging app isn’t unlike what WebOS does, where they have SMS, Google Talk, AIM and so on all in the same Messages app.

      But the fact that if I’m on an iMessage-enabled phone and I start to send a text message to someone else who has iMessage enabled, it magically notices we both have iMessage and switches the window to an iMessage window.  (Since, like Facetime, it uses a phonenumber lookup at the central server.)  So you don’t have to even think about it, and you just send messages without having to even go ‘oh, yeah, I should send that via iMessage instead of text and not have to be charged for the MMS.’

      That’s something Google could solve on an even grander scale (as, let’s be honest, they have server know-how Apple can only dream of).  Not just by rebranding Talk, but by integrating SMS and whatever messaging solution, so that you just pick a contact and act like you were texting them, and it magically sorts out behind the scenes what needs to happen.

  16. If Google does this they should try to make the app available on every mobile OS then they really would change everything. Most mobile OS’s offer Google search as an option so I think the only one who probably wouldn’t approve the app is Apple.

  17. Google Talk, the desktop version, already has file sharing… I’m not sure why they are taking such a long time to do this on mobile… it could replace both my SMS and MMS consumption if they just allowed me to attach a damn photo as a first step… :-)

  18. WSJ doesn’t have this – does anyone have a link? Sounds fishy

  19. The great thing about Google Talk is it’s using an open protocol (XMPP/Jabber) which anyone can run a server for and interoperate with. It’s silly for them to replace that with something proprietary and locked-in.

  20. it’s been awhile since i had a BlackBerry, but if i recall, there is no charge for BBM. not sure how this will work for the iMessage system, or what the plan will be for Gtalk… but if this is the case, it means carriers will lose out on charging for text/picture messaging. is this something the carriers are prepared to face?

  21. If Gtalk added users from your phone book (/ Facebook) like Whatsapp, people would use it.

  22. I agee with you, just rebrand and upgrade gtalk

  23. I’m lost here. I haven’t played much with BBM and honestly have never understood the obsession. Nor am I understanding how or why people say with will replace SMS. BBM works BB to BB. iMessaged will work iOS to iOS. Otherwise you’re sending SMS. GTalk works Android to Android to desktop and for any non compatible device you use SMS. So I’m not seeing the benefit or change here.

    Now if Google is adding some additional enterprise features then that only makes sense as Google Apps for business is an enterprise product that encompasses GTalk. It would make sense to make an enterprise grade messenger that also works across mobile devices. I could be mistaken but neither BB or Apple has that.

  24. one feature i’d like added to gtalk is the ability to do group chat with friends that dont have android.  so far it only supports group chat if all users are on an android phone.  i have friends on blackberrys and i can’t add them to a group chat.  and then there is the ios version which is absolutely terrible because it’s not an actual app it just directs you to the web version of the service so my friend, yeah just one, doesn’t use it because it’s too clumsy/inconvenient/what have you. an upgrade is definitely needed, goodgle should do something similar to what motorola and htc did with facebook asking the users what features they would like to see added/changed and go from there. 

  25. i want Google Voice Mobile to enable me to text multiple people at once

  26. google purchase WhatsApp!!! please!

  27. If it’s not cross-platform, it’s missing the point (that goes for apple and google).

    I left RIM/BBM about a month ago (Incredible II), and researched messengers extensively before switching.  The best, most-stable, cleanest UI, uses push notifications, etc I found was LiveProfile. 

    I have been using it from day 1 on my dinc2 and it has been great.  Even friends that still have blackberries like the app.  It is free and states that they are committed to staying free (unlike WhatsApp).  The only knock is that they don’t have group chat, which they have been insisting for a while is due to roll out “very soon.”  I’ll believe it when I see it. 

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