Google Babel

Google needs a unified messenger app, and they know it. All reports suggest it’s coming soon, and probably at I/O in a few weeks. Still… something always seemed wrong about it. The name ‘Babel’ just seemed, well, terrible. Google enjoys the play on words, like Google Goggles, but Babel always seemed like a code name.

A fresh rumor today suggests that ‘Babel’ will actually be called ‘Hangout’. Ryan Socio, who posted the info to ‘The Verge’ forums, has evidently toyed with the new app for “less than a minute”, and notes its more of an overhaul of Google Talk than anything else. According to Ryan, the icon is green, and similar to the Google+ messenger icon.

So, why should we lend credence to this rumor? Well, the same person had advance notice of everything released at the Nexus event last fall, leading us to think he has an inside track at Google. Then again, for a guy with close ties to Google… we weren’t able to find him on Google+ under “Ryan Socio”. Very odd.

Then again, some of what was noted may work out. In a previous report on a possible Google memo, ‘Babel’ was said to have a one-click Hangout feature. It was also said to unify all chat functions, like Messenger and Talk.  While Ryan notes the app is currently being dogfooded as ‘Hangout’, that made us wonder. What of Google+ hangouts? Is this new messenger function somehow being rolled into that service? It could be a good idea, since both are ways to stay connected, but unlikely that Google would have two services with the same name. It’s also a great way to bolster Google+ as a social function and gathering place.

We’ll keep an eye on this, and our curiosity tempered. Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

  • NateCress

    This might help them compete better with Microsoft. Microsoft is using Skype for all of its messaging services now. Or at least they will be in the future.

    • Nate Swanner

      My thoughts exactly… but we’ll need some confirmation before we’re ready to call it a Skype beater.

  • Kwadwo Firempong-Boakye

    I think “Hangout” would be a close to perfect name for a unified messaging service. especially if its on all major mobile platforms. I can already imagine someone saying “hey lets hangout” and it fitting well into the use of the service. I think it only ties well into the Hangout Service Provided on Google + already and if it does land on other platforms as well, it could be a major competitor to Skype and others as such.

    • Back in my day, when a friend said “let’s hang out” it meant… “hey you should come over”

  • I will be really disappointed if babel is integrated into G+ as a hangout update. Don’t get me wrong, Google is doing a fantastic job with G+ fighting the uphill battle with FB. But very few people I know actively use G+ (myself included). Babel would be much more useful and versatile as an independent download that consolidated voice, g+ messaging/hangouts, talk, gmail chat, etc. And if they integrated it into Android 4.3 as the default messaging/SMS app (like iMessage), they’d make a lot of people very very happy.

    • Nate Swanner

      But don’t you think integration is a great way to get users involved with the platform? I do.

    • storm14k

      But G+ usage would have nothing to do with it. If you used Talk then you’d just be transitioned over. Wherever you chat from… Talk, Gmail, G+, Voice whatever… It would all be the same thing.

    • Chemiclus

      Like storm14k said, using Google+ doesn’t actually mean going an making an account. Google+ is simply the link between all the services, so even if your friend only uses GTalk or Gmail, their messages will still be sent to the same place because if you have a Google account for any service, you technically have a Google+ account.

      Almost like when creating an Xbox Live account you’re essentially making a Microsoft account I guess.
      But yes, people won’t switch if they can’t message who they need to at first (via SMS).

      • But is g+ really the best place to integrate their entire messaging system? Or are they compromising to compel users into using g+?

        I guess we’ll have to wait until I/O to see what El Goog has up its sleeve

    • Phil Nolan

      You should use Google+ more. There’s lots of great stuff going on every day.

  • Jules Landry-Simard

    If it can combine an iMessage AND Facetime equivalent in a single app, Google surely has a hit !

    • Imessage + Facetime + multi-ecosystems would be killer. They would be playing the inclusive game instead of apple’s exclusive game.

  • valerie richter


  • g0vt_h00ker

    How does babel seem terrible? You must have a poor taste in titles.

    • Nate Swanner

      Google Babel?
      That’s a mouthful. Google Goggles is bad enough.

      • Phil Nolan

        If it’s a mouthful, then don’t say Google Babel, just say Babel.

  • eldrich

    for this google babe(l) hangout to be successful:

    1). a reliable offline message.
    that’s the primary reason I ditch ym, googletalk, and switch to kakao, whatsapp etc.

    2). support for many platform.
    a mobile web view would be a good start (like ym web from years ago), so that it can be accessed from any phone browser, opera mobile etc.
    or, they can release client app to multiple platform (like whatsapp do), but that will be harder to maintenance.

    3). an easy way to find friend contacts.
    don’t limit to only google accounts. use also phone numbers, fb friend list, etc.

    if those not met, don’t expect people switching to google babe(l) messenger any soon..

    • AbbyZFresh

      They already said its going to be offline too and for Android, IOS and Chrome. They said they its going to be offered in app form, mobile web form ,and desktop form.

      I’m not sure for your 3rd request tho.

  • Ryan Socio

    Thanks for the mention guys. :)

    I’m not on Google+ as Ryan Socio because Socio isn’t a real name. And I don’t use G+ anyway, none of my friends are on there.

    • Nate Swanner

      Oh Ryan, you are just so typical ;p
      If you have a minute, email me. I’d love to chat.

      • Ryan Socio

        Hey Nate, I’ve sent you an email. Get in touch whenever you want. :)

    • Phil Nolan

      You should, you’re missing out.

  • Phil Nolan

    Why is “Babel” terrible? It’s sounds like a great name. Would Hangout be confusing since they already have something called Hangout?

    • Why start something new when you can just talk about how awesome the supercharged and super-improved Hangouts that you already know and love just got? Build off success, not start something brand spanking new and confuse people even more.

  • Collin Page

    I think the whole reason to go Hangouts is to replace the G+ version.. or Merge talk over top of it

  • I just want a service that could properly respond to group MMS messages sent from presumptuous iPhone users who think everyone uses an iPhone. In messaging apps, it should also allow emojis or translate emojis to an android equivalent, like what Instagram and twitter do.

  • There’s an app called Talkatone that is a third party app that does what Google Talk/Voice/Babel/Chat already does. It might not have video chat, but if Google implemented a similar solution that’s less buggy and integrates with Hangouts I’d be one happy Googlier. Until then, ill stick to that solution.