Google dropping XMPP imprisons millions of GApps users behind the iron wall of Hangouts – the ultimate irony of UC Interoperability
On May 15, Google announced a unified messaging system called Hangouts, which ties its disparate communication services together. The new service, which adopts the name of one of Google’s most popular products, replaces Google Talk, Google+ Messenger, and the original Google+ Hangouts video chat service. Hangouts will eventually replace all of Google’s communication properties and will be available for Android, iOS, and the web using Google’s Chrome extension.
Unfortunately, the announcement indicates that Google Hangouts does not support the XMPP protocol for federated communications. The impact of Google’s decision is that users of any XMPP-based UC platform (or any SIP based platform using an XMPP gateway) will not be able to communicate with any users who adopt Google Hangouts. This is a regrettable decision on the part of Google.
The NextPlane UC Exchange federation service will continue to support federation for Google users, as long as they keep on using an XMPP-enabled client such as GTalk or Pidgin – and, if they are using Google Apps, that the Google App domain administrator has not chosen to opt into the new Hangouts system.
At this time, The NextPlane UC Exchange federation service cannot provide federation for users that have moved to Google Hangouts. Users who have already opted into Hangouts can toggle back to the old XMPP-based chat clients in the Google web client to maintain their previous federated contacts.
If you are using the NextPlane UC Exchange to federate your SIP based platform such as Microsoft Lync, or IBM Sametime with Gmail.com or other Google domains, you may notice that some of your Google contacts have become unreachable. This will be because those users have moved to the new Hangouts and can no longer federate with your users via XMPP. We recommend that, in order to maintain federation, your users should advise their Google contacts not to opt in to Hangouts or use an XMPP client if they wish to retain federated communications with them.
In order to show Hangouts as being a successful service Google may force users to move to Hangouts by discontinuing its support for XMPP federation altogether. In anticipation of this move, NextPlane is developing a proxy-based federation capability, similar to our existing Skype and Yahoo federation services, which will use Google APIs instead of the Google XMPP S2S Gateway for federation with the Google user community.
In addition, NextPlane can also use this unique proxy-based federation technology to federate our supported UC platforms with Hangouts. However, this requires Google to make APIs for Hangouts available.
We live in the age of instant 24×7 global communication. As a result Google cannot close the door on XMPP, trapping millions of corporate users without opening a new door to Hangouts. For Google to open Hangouts to 3rd parties, we need your support. Google does listen to its corporate customers, and as a community we need to be heard. We ask you and your executives to reach out to your Google account managers and executives to ask them to open Hangouts to 3rd parties by publishing its APIs.
If you have any questions regarding the above statement, or would like to discuss options in more detail, please contact the NextPlane team. Meanwhile, we want to assure our customers that your needs remain our top priority, and we’ll continue to find new ways around proprietary roadblocks, which vendors may put in place such as this one by Google, so that your end-users can continue to have options and flexibility to communicate as they choose.