Is Google ‘Babel’ really named ‘Hangout’?

May 4, 2013
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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!

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