Most Requested Google+ Features & How They Might Be Implemented - Unified Messaging Solution

Recently, I asked the members in our very own Google+ Updates Community what features they'd love to see on Google+, in this post.

We are going to look at multiple feature requests from the community and how they might be implemented, starting with possibly the most desired of them all; You've guessed it, a unified messaging solution.

What's the Situation?

Google has made it complex for their users when it comes to messaging. Previously, there wasn't much of a need to have a central hub for messaging, as it didn't fit with the strategy of Google pre-Plus.

Now that Google+ is around, there is a need for consistency, we can be hopeful that it is in the works, but it's a big project that'll need to be carefully planned and executed.
Right now, you can instant message the people you've added by email address or circles via Google Talk (or Google Chat), which is what you see on the right-side of Google+, and can also found on Gmail (with a slightly different set of features). On your Android device, Google Talk supports video chat functionality, but isn't branded as Google+ Hangouts. When using the service from the web on your desktop, you can also video chat, but through Hangouts. Confusing right?

There is also Google+ Messenger, previously introduced as "Huddles" back when Google+ first launched in the summer of 2011 (Why they had to introduce Messenger when they already had Talk, is beyond me). In Messenger, you can have a one-on-one or group chat with the people you're connected with on Google+, and the service utilised Hangouts from the start. But unlike Talk or Chat, you can't access your chat log/messages from the desktop web version of Google+. Bummer.

That's not all, there is also Google Voice too. Currently US only, Voice allows you to place international calls, and send MMS and SMS messages at cheap rates from the desktop, or through Gmail and the official Android application.

Stock Android comes with an SMS and MMS sending app, simply called Messaging.

One Messenger to Rule Them All...

Imagine not having 4 (or more) messaging services to choose from when wanting to contact someone. iOS and Blackberry users have enjoyed the luxury of a unified service for years now, and it's time Google catches up.

There has been a lot of talk rumours recently about the possibility of a unified messenger being announced at Google I/O (Google's annual developer conference) under the name of Babble. This is all strictly rumours for now, as the hasn't linked to any sources, or revealed how they got the information. Google never reveals information about future product launches and improvements. However, I am hopeful that it will be announced (but not with the name of Babble) at Google I/O 2013, baked in to a newly announced Android Key Lime Pie. But that's all speculation on my part.

Besides all the talk, there is some hard evidence. Developer +François Beaufort  shared a screenshot of a new and unreleased notification centre for Chrome OS that is currently under testing.
Although the notification centre is intriguing and I'd love to know more, this article's focus is on messaging. People were quick to spot the icon displayed at the bottom of his screenshot. Could it be that of a unified messenger Google is internally testing?
Could it be?
Only the people at Google know how they're going to pull it off, if it is indeed in the works. If so, they'll have to replace the messengers with a singular app on Android, and a way to view messages via Google properties on the desktop web (I'm thinking some sort of integrated messaging centre for Google+), and replacing Talk/Chat on both Google+ and Gmail too.

The scale of the project is massive, but would provide a much better experience for end users. I guess all we can do is wait and see...

What feature would you like to see on Google+?
Screenshot courtesy of +François Beaufort