According to the Economic Times, Google is working on and will be looking to launch its own chat app some time in 2015. Yes, we know the obvious question is – "Doesn't Google Hangouts cover this already?". Well, it does and it doesn't – sure, users can use Hangouts to connect and chat, but it hasn't been very popular. One of the main reasons is that it started off as yet another part of the Google+ network, which seeks to connect everything with your Gmail profile. And since Google+ isn't exactly popular, a lot of users got put off by the idea of having to go through the procedure of setting up a profile, in order to get to Hangouts (even if it's simple – it's the perceived hassle that is enough to discourage most users). This coupling has now been removed and all one needs for a Hangouts profile is their Gmail account (which anyone using an Android phone has), but alas - it seems it's too late for most users to be interested enough to try it, while others are having privacy concerns over having their email synced to a chat app.
Now, competitor apps, such as WhatsApp, are easier to set up, accessible, and obviously pack enough features, as they have been a competitor to Facebook's Messenger for a while now. According to a survey
, taken prior to Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp
, the latter's messaging service was more widely used than the most popular social network's own offering.
So, according to the report, Google will be looking to learn from the competition and will not require Gmail account sync with its new chat app. Instead – it will employ phone number verification – just like WhatsApp, Viber, and others. The app will be tested in India first – the country where Google is looking to gain momentum with its Android One program
, and reach “the next 5 billion users”.
Why a new app, instead of reworking Hangouts? Maybe Google is looking to launch a service exclusive to India. Or maybe it wants a chat app, clean of Hangouts' past - let's be fair, it didn't have the best of receptions.
There is no denying that Google is one of the biggest players when it comes to mail, search, ads, and of course – mobile OS, but for some reason – the company just can't seem to put its finger on social. Do you think a Google chat app that doesn't require a Gmail sync has a better chance of success? Or does the problem lie deeper?