Google's Messaging Game - Maybe we've already seen the signs
Was chatting with a few friends, and actually complaining about feature parity between the Hangouts experience on different platforms.
With the latest round of updates, features on Hangouts for platforms is a gigantic mess.
IOS - Stickers and Video Messages
In one of the last major updates on IOS's version of Hangouts, Google added Video messages and Stickers.
The sensible assumption when they announced this was that those features would come to Hangouts on other platforms. It's been 4 months, and updates have been done to Android and Chrome Desktop versions but these features were never added.
Android - Per notification Tones, Phone Calls through Hangouts, SMS Support, etc
For Android, we've seen several features that have been there that never made it to IOS's Hangouts update. The features added on IOS, like I said, also never got added. Some of these limitations are obviously due to the way IOS works with 3rd party apps, but you get my point.
Desktop/Chrome - Drawings
A new features just got added to the Chrome extension that makes way for editing images and drawing sketches.
The feature parity Game
Now, other than platform limitations, there is no reason to start introducing different features on different platforms of the same app. Whenever possible, feature parity and a consistent user experience across platforms would always be the ideal situation.
There is a possibility that at Google IO, other than Launching Google Voice integration, the idea is to bring all these features such as Stickers and Sketching to all platforms but what if this was just a hint of something bigger?
Addons for Google+ Hangouts
Hangouts: Extensible API at Google IO
"Could this be their messaging strategy?"
If what I mentioned above makes sense, Google has shown us that Google Hangouts is not just for messaging.
All the different features they have added on different platforms so far show us that the engine behind Hangouts is capable of embedding almost anything in conversations: Drawings, Annotating photos, GIFs, Video messages, Sound recordings, Stickers (which are just GIFs)...
What if Google intends to open up APIs for their messaging platform so that developers could develop "Extensions" or "Addons" for Hangouts that would add new features such as a TicTacToe game, Dungeons and Dragons in a group chatand even Live edits of Google Docs documents within Hangouts.
Wouldn't be too far of a stretch would it? Google is known to love creating tools and letting developers go crazy. It would also make sense as an announcement at IO if they have given developers 3-4 months to see what Hangouts can do beyond text messaging.
Could an open and extensible Google Hangouts be Google's messaging master plan?