As Google pulls the plug on its instant messenger, we welcome the next generation of chat, Google Hangouts is splitting into Chat and Meet. Goodbye, Gchat.
The messaging service that came with Gmail is no more. As of June 26 Google is ushering users towards other platforms. This is cause for mourning by die-hard fans who credit it with teaching a generation to chat online after its launch in 2005. But, nostalgia aside, Gchat — officially called Google Talk — remained in the margins (quite literally living in the Gmail sidebar), unchanging and seemingly unloved by its owner.
How many people will be pining for it by the end of next week? Not many, given that it’s hardly leaving a gaping void.
For a start there are the other platforms that Google wants us to adopt instead. Hangouts is one of them — or rather two, as it’s now split into Hangouts Chat for instant messaging and Hangouts Meet for video and audio chat. These are pitched at the enterprise user while Allo and Duo are the consumer app counterparts. Then there are Android messages, Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger and Voice.
Yes, seven different instant messaging platforms.
But this isn’t just a story of Google product development. The fact is, the world has moved on. Gchat might have been a breakthrough app back in the day, but Google clearly had no interest in developing it further or even keeping it current. While it doggedly stuck to its limited guns, other players entered the market offering users more functionality and a better experience.
There will always be those who become attached to a piece of technology and, perhaps, you might see some mileage in the old ‘if it ain’t broke’ adage, but chat is fast becoming the way we do so many things — more than just chatting. We want to interact with technology and data with the ease of natural conversation.
That’s what we’re doing at Blink, where chat is at the heart of the experience. We’ve turned it into a universal interface for doing everything. It’s how you fire up Blink’s bots and micro-apps, from Todoist, translation and GitHub to Jira, ServiceNow and MailChimp. We need chat platforms that not only accommodate such innovation but evolve with it. That’s why we’ve made it super-simple to create your own bots and micro-apps, to mould Blink to your organisation.
As we said in our last post, the rise of messaging apps comes at a time of app overload, outdated enterprise software and inadequate team working tools. Blink makes team communication and collaboration efficient and fun while providing a far superior way to access the enterprise systems and data at the heart of an organisation.
The demand will only increase for chat platforms that put technological superpowers, quite literally, at our fingertips. The last thing we need now is a chat app that just does chat while we have to use different platforms to do all the other stuff.
Gchat was there for the early adopters — the ones who embraced an immediate, informal and convenient way of communicating and those who saw it as the shape of things to come.
For that we all owe it a debt of gratitude. But tech should be restless — it needs to keep adapting to remain relevant and, for whatever reason at Google HQ, there was zero appetite for Gchat to do so.
So it’s so long, Gchat, and thanks for memories. But the shape of chat to come is a lot more exciting.
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