Tech Radar just came through with some really convincing screenshots of the Google Babel web interface. Check this out:

Babel hangout edited-580-90

I believe these are real, and I'll tell you why: They perfectly match the partially obscured screenshots of Babel that Googlers have been accidentally posting to the Chromium bug tracker (props to Craig Tumblison for this awesome list).


The left side of this image (original here) was posted by a Googler to the Chromium bug tracker. It's a never-before-seen chat application running on Chrome OS. On the right is the newly released Babel screenshot - everything lines up perfectly. The hangout button is in the same place, the profile icon has the same design, and the smiley face button is in the bottom left. It's a perfect match.

Babel Chat-580-90

These are particularly convincing, too. The left panel shows emoji in the style of the Google+ "Mood" buttons, but there are ones I've never seen before. Faking this shot would mean having to study the Google+ emoji and design completely new ones - and they perfectly match the existing ones. So this is either real, or done by a professional designer. There are also too many little details, like "chat off the record" in the text input field, for this to be faked.

So, now that we've established that it's real, what do we actually have here? It looks a lot like Google Talk, which is a good thing. Gtalk works great. There's also, obviously, a crapload of emojis.


They showed a settings panels, which allow you to save your chat history, enable notifications, and archive your conversation, which would be a nice way to clear the chat box.

Of course, this all requires Google+, which seems right up Google's alley. The panel on the right would seem to suggest that photo sharing (perhaps in-line photo sharing?) would be a feature. As jm9843 points out in the comments, it also says "Send photos with Google Talk" which suggests that, maybe, they're going to keep the name.

Be sure to check out the source link, which has a few more screenshots. We're getting closer to the launch of unified messaging! If someone could leak the Android app next, that'd be great.

Source: Techradar (Thanks Robert Duić!)

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • http://www.facebook.com/cameron.schluchtner Cameron John Schluchtner

    i am okay with this.

  • mesmorino

    It's still a fucking stupid name.

    • jm9843

      The screenshot says "Send photos with Google Talk." Babel is probably the internal code name and they're sticking with the "Talk" branding.

      • mesmorino

        Tech Radar has a screenshot that says "What do you think about Babel in Gmail?"

        • Knowles2

          It probably a code name, Google+ had several before the project was revealed to the public.

          • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

            Yeah, the 'Babel' text could easily be changed with a variable.

            I personally don't think it'll be called Babel (Google Talk rebrand or Google Connect sound more likely) but we'll see.

          • agj ffb

            what if Google keeps other messaging apps and Babel is just a new one ?

          • Knowles2

            That would be ridiculous.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

        Oh. good spot.

      • Mikael Guggenheim

        Babel Talk? :P

      • Freak4Dell

        I really, really, really hope so.

    • http://danielmilner.com Daniel

      I think the name fits it perfectly. Especially if they include automatic translation for talking with those in other languages. (Tower of Babel reference is nice)

      • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

        That would be a great feature, wouldn't it? Maybe that's what they have planned.

      • QwietStorm

        Hadn't even thought of that. Would be an ingenious feature.

    • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

      I think it's genius. Babel was the legendary tower that ancient peoples built when they all spoke one language before God confounded their efforts by making them speak different languages.

      • mesmorino

        If you like it, then good for you.

      • RepublicansAreSoStupid

        I doubt google named it for its "biblical" reference.

        • areyouserious

          Im sure they did. You're ignorant if you think they named it this without have the bible in mind. Just because a reference is biblical doesnt mean the backing company is religious. This is like saying every product that references Eden isnt religious. Or any of the tons of biblical references in modern culture. Its a huge part of our culture and a wealth of references to draw from that many people are familiar with.

          • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

            RIght. Today when we can't understand someone we say they are babbling which is a direct reference to God causing people to speak different languages at the tower of Bable to cause them to disband, whether people understand that or not.

        • mrsbelpit

          If you like, they probably named it for the babel fish from hitchhiker's guide, which was named for the biblical reference.

        • andy_o

          Why, then?

        • Mikael Guggenheim

          They probably namned it because of this, but thinking about it as something "biblical" isn't needed since it's become such a widespread lore that many people doesn't even know it has anything to do with religion....

          EDIT: areyouserious says it a lot better ^^

      • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

        I should have read down further before commenting. I am with you 100%

    • http://www.AndroidAllies.com/ Max M.

      Let Google know. I'm sure they will care.

    • Sarah Puls

      One of the definitions of "babel" is "a confusion of sound or voices" (freedictionary.com) and fits perfectly for chatting. So it fits. Especially for those of us who have several chats open at once.

      • mesmorino

        That's the reason it's a stupid name. I don't want a confusion of sound or voices anywhere in my messaging system, I want a clear and very straightforward experience. It's only logical that it's name should reflect it's behaviour. Like I said in the other thread, if your car takes you forwards, and you name it "backwards", you're not doing yourself any favours.

        Right now, all the name evokes is a sense of confusion- Exactly like the dictionary definition, and it just makes me think it's going to be some weird mess of google talk, google voice, g+ messenger and the messaing app all blended into one.

        To make it worse, the words babble and babbling are derived from babel: So what now, when I message someone I'm going to be babbling? No thanks.

        • http://profiles.google.com/tcjstn Justin Cunningham

          So don't use it, quit whining. Moving on.

          • mesmorino

            That's about the dumbest response ever.

        • Mikael Guggenheim

          You're already babbling ;P

          • mesmorino

            Lol nice! :P

        • Sarah Puls

          Personally I find it clever and would rather have all my chats consolidated into one form.

          • mesmorino

            You misunderstand. I want all of my chats consolidated too. I just want it to have a normal name. No fancy references to anything, just call it google talk, or messenger, or something SENSIBLE.

          • Sarah Puls

            Take it up with Google...start a petition. Saying it's a "stupid fucking name" on a comment board won't do very much.

          • mesmorino

            Oh I know, I'm not expecting my comment to do anything and in the greater scheme of things, a stupid name won't bother me as much as poor functionality.

      • Knowles2

        Babel could simply be google taking the piss out of itself for the current state of it messaging platforms, of which they have several.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/108482452903817442299/posts Andrew Bone

      It is no doubt a code name, majel became now so I think babel will become something else before the end

    • http://techonblogger.ward.pro/ Stynkfysh

      Seriously? Babel is a great name! If you are not familiar, it was at the tower of Babel where God basically created all of the different languages. The term babbling comes from not being able to understand one another at the tower of Babel. Babel as a chat platform suggests the bringing together of disparate communication mediums into a unified one, like iMessage does for iOS.

  • Hector Marquez

    This looks pretty awesome. I hope to see some FTP type integration, as well.

  • RedPandaAlex

    Starting to think this could land before I/O

  • http://profiles.google.com/cisnerosbrandy Brenda cisneros

    I use Gtalk on a daily basis, and Google Voice for text, and G+ for hangouts and keeping in touch. so im glad finally Google is giving some attention to GTalk. anyone know a release date?

    • Alday

      Google hasn't even officially announced this yet, why do you think there would be a release date?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001168392098 Joel Collins

    Loving the look of this, and I really don't mind the name (as a huge H2G2 fan)

  • James Nixon Steel

    Pleeeeaseee leak! Or release this Google!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10215724 Raj Bhatt

    I am actually super stoked about this. Unified messaging will be awesome on Android, it has been a feature that we've been missing without even knowing that we needed it.

  • Paul

    Hopefully this is based on Google Wave. Having all those features and more would be great!

    • http://twitter.com/by0 Kaush

      So I am not the only one who still thinks Wave was revolutionary, only way ahead of time.......while many Googlers tell me that they are still using bits and pieces pf wave code(awesomne!) ..I don't think Babel will be anything more than unified look and feel of chat window across the board ...and forcing users to join G+.

      • Stephen Knipe

        Indeed Wave was awesome and way ahead of its time

  • aerojad

    Google+ required? I really hope that means sent pictures aren't going to be automatically uploaded to and posted on G+ forever.

    Also is this going to rely on SMS as a failsafe like iMessage does? That'd be nice.

    • storm14k

      Pictures that are automatically uploaded to G+ are not posted. You must go and post them.

    • Phil Kulak

      Probably put on Google plus, but shared only with the person (or people) in the conversation. And in its own album, most likely. "Photos from Chats", or something like that.

    • QwietStorm

      Nothing gets posted unless you post it, and you can delete anything from your album. Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying?

      • aerojad

        You're not, and I guess G+ has gotten better from the time that Instant Upload was first rolled out and everything was shared without restriction. I just remember that happening, hurriedly disabling the feature, and never revisiting it as I had no use for it.

        • http://profiles.google.com/benpetro Ben Petro

          Auto Upload was NEVER shared automatically by default. You are mistaken. I've used it from day one. I know.

        • Johnathan Rodriguez

          Never happened. Won't ever happen. You must have simply not read about the feature correctly when it came out.

        • thommcg

          Indeed. False. Uploads were never auto-shared.

        • JG

          I think you might be thinking about events. Pretty sure if you try to take a picture during a G+ event you've marked as attending, you'll be prompted to have the pictures uploaded to an album shared with all of the event attendees. But for standard photo uploads, as others have pointed out, since it's inception, G+ has always uploaded them to a private album & you then must share the pics with select people(s)/circle(s) before anyone else is able to see them.

    • Jeffrey Blattman

      yes, it will automatically send all the pictures on the device to your grandma. it's a feature.

      • Freak4Dell

        Oh, look! Little Johnny is sexting again. How precious!

        • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ psychomaniac189

          I'll just leave this here lol http://db.tt/MEGokS5d

          • Kcls

            Super risky click.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ psychomaniac189

            I couldn't post a pic from the phone for some reason. I added another reply with what I wanted to show.

        • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ psychomaniac189

          I'll just leave this here. LOL

    • woj_tek

      I really hope G+ would be only required for extra features like sending photos, which I never do via IM... otherwise I see absolutely no point in making G+ required -- why oh why google? Only for the sake of having it?

      bottomline - I really hope that unification won't sever xmpp federation nor will require G+ -- those are dealbreakers for me. I switched to using GTalk (my own domain) because it was already there without strings attached with xmpp federation, it worked and it had chat history. If any part of this will gone missing then I don't see the point of using google chat service anymore... my rooster has about 50% federated contacts - if I won't be able to reach them (google already makes it hard to authorize contacts :/) then it will be easier to simply change DNS entry and host my xmpp elsewere; and from a short chats with this 50% that use google gtalk - they will do same without any hesitation - because they also use federation and google is not primary for them; also making G+ required would detere even more of my contacts (I actually have only a few contacts there that have g+ account as well).

      let's hope google's push toward G+ won't make them do stupid things...

      • Kcls

        I think you're going to be out of luck. Why would they not make you join though? That's like wanting to use Facebook chat without having a Facebook account. This is going to be Google's push to get more users on G+.

        • woj_tek

          well... this was from my perspective and not google agenda - for me I am/was happy with single google services - mail/chat/search/calendar/reader (that would be it)... and suddently google want's to be second facebook and they are making absolutely everything to get everyone to sign... newsflash - the more you push the more user don't want it... for me (and *all* my contacs*) google+ doenst' have any value - basically most of the time it's like reading peopls blogs (which for one folk is like reading blog - i've just added his profile to my rss reader - voila).

          If I wanted social network I would go for facebook, which I didn't. I want to communicate with people using e-mail and chat (xmpp) - as simple as that, and my peers want to do the same...

          • didibus

            I agree, Google is pushing too much to replace Facebook. But I'm pretty sure Facebook is doomed in the long term, already teenagers are moving away from it in favor of Tumblr or Instagram. Google is missing the point, originally folks loved dumping their life in one central place, but now they are starting to smell the rot. They want centralize access, control, and sharing capability, but not dumping. Google was the closest to that, with all it's services, it just needed a central command center to manage them in one place. Instead, it's reproducing the dumpster approach of facebook.

          • woj_tek

            This, very-much-this!
            at first when everyone had like a dozen or so people in their friend list it was relatively easy to manage facebook and streams and so on but later on it became just tiresome to get grip of this one stream with everything. nowadeys people tend to compertmentalize everything - sharing with soup/tumblr, twitter for short messages, mail/chat for direct messages. google had it but, as you said, missing piece was kind of central hub/configuration that now google+ settings / dashbord are trying to achieve without all this pushing of circles and streams... srsly - what is the advantage of using google+stream instead of tumbler or any other blog?

    • didibus

      Agree, requirements like this are turn off. Why can't I send a picture to someone else, and just they receive it directly. Done. Why pass through the google servers. Does that mean they will be sent to Google+ viewer to see it also? What if I want them to get the original file, can I send files like you used to in MSN?

      It would almost make more sense to have the picture saved in Drive, if they really want archiving purposes.

      Also, I feel they are ignoring the new trend, especially in teenagers, where picture sharing are auto-destruct. I hope they add a feature like that day one, that would bring in a lot of people to use Google Talk instead of imessage or facebook chat.

  • aiwa

    has anyone thougth about Babel(fish)?

    • bmaz

      Google has never been good at naming things, they really need to get and/or listen to their marketing department, instead of giving their programmers free reign.

      • Chris Thomson

        What makes you think their marketing dept didn't think of this? What do you think their marketing dept does?

        • bmaz

          If they did, then they need to refill that position.

          • Chris Thomson

            What makes you think the names they choose are bad? Or is this your opinion?

          • bmaz

            It is my opinion. I don't like some of their redundant names and services.
            I had a few Nokia phones in the past and I became familiar with the name Nokia Drive (their Nav), when I first heard of Google Drive, without knowing what it was, I immediately became confused, as I knew they already had Google Maps.
            In my opinion Google Drive, should have just been called Google Cloud, Google Talk should have been Google Messenger (the current Google Messenger shouldn't have existed, it should have been an evolution of what is now GTalk).
            Google Voice should have been Google Talk. There are various other examples but the worst name IMO is the Play Store, it should have been Google Market or the Google Store

      • Royal2000H

        Their marketing dept does name things... "Daydream" "Project Butter" that all came from the marketing dept. First engineers do their thing, then when it's close to mainstream, Marketing gets on it.

  • Sqube

    Does this mean that Talk, SMS and Messenger are going to be combined into one program to challenge iMessage, or is this an entirely new thing?

    • http://benignthoughts.com/ Louis C.

      I'm going to laugh so hard if this is a fourth messaging service. (G+ Messenger, Google Talk, SMS via Google Voice, and now Babel)

      But it's probably the unification we've been waiting for.

  • Kelvin Davis

    Calling it.

    • mrsbelpit

      That would be awesome.

      • Kelvin Davis

        When this amount of leaking, it's gonna get released on google's usual day of updates: Wednesday.

        • mrsbelpit

          Just like Keep :D

          I'm so excite!

  • Aaron Berlin

    Where's the ability to make a phonecall? If they're going to more fully integrate this into Hangouts, I hope they don't make it a pain to use...

    • Mikael Guggenheim

      Well. If the rumour about whats app is true they are trying to get it working for calls as well.

    • quick

      Just hope to god they are integrating Google Voice with this as well, it needs some updating, as well as MMS features...

    • Freak4Dell

      Calls in Talk right now are done from the contact list. The phone icon you see in the chat window is voice chat, rather than a phone call. There's no screenshot of a contact list here. As for no phone icon, I'm thinking they did away with the separation of voice and video chat and just put it all under Hangouts.

      • Aaron Berlin

        What? No, you can click on the phone icon and make a phone call. At least in the browser, everything else is handled through hangouts now.

        • Freak4Dell

          I don't have that. Mine is Voice Call, which only calls the computer, not the phone. It's just a video chat without video. I can, however, make real phone calls by clicking the phone icon from the contact list, which pops up a dialer.

  • http://twitter.com/Gehim Rehan Ahmed

    Can this new service be linked to the recent rumors of Google looking to buy WhatsApp?

    • Knowles2

      Google acquring Whatsapp doesn't sound right to me. An it way over priced at a billion dollars but then that what I said about Instagram.

    • http://www.facebook.com/dileepanm Dileepan Mohanachandran

      That chat window and the emoji placement (even the emojis), look just like a WhatsApp screen to me.

  • kid canada

    I don't really like the name "Babel" but I would prefer it 100% to Google just keeping the name Talk, The name Google Talk carries way too much baggage with it imo, if the company wants to start competing with iMessage, BBM and FB Messenger it needs a fresh new name to go along with the fresh new interface above. I've been on Android for about 2 years now, i've always disabled Talk because no one I know uses it, it surprises me to see so much support for the application and name when I personally don't know anyone who cares about it but I wouldn't doubt that it is used. Needless to say I'm really excited to have this coming, if this is supported by Chome OS, the Chrome Browser and iOS in addition to Android I don't know why my friends wouldn't choose to use it as long as it is well advertised and integrated. IMO Android 5.0 will be a success if it can add more polish to the OS, adds an IM client like Babel and a native Podcast app.

    • Mohibb

      If Google buys Whatsapp (rumour, got it from Cnet), and somehow integrate it with this, then they will really have a worthy competitor to imessage. I really hope it's true, as they will have a kickass service with a big user base.

    • Freak4Dell

      So what do you use for chatting on the internet, then? Google Talk is popular, at least in the US, because it's integrated with GMail, and pretty much everyone has a GMail account these days. I don't use Talk on my phone because nobody else I know does either, so SMS is far better for mobile communication, but when I'm on the computer, it's always Talk.

  • CuriousCursor

    So Babel is the combined messaging platform?

  • Jays2Kings

    It upsets me so much when people take pictures of their computer screen, as if there's not a button on the keyboard for that.

    • Mikael Guggenheim

      Sometimes a photo of the device running what they want to show is better. It is more work to make a fake that way...

      • Ewgeni Weber

        Its not that you could take a photo of a fake image lol..

        • TylerChappell

          Precisely lol. That's what a pro would do. ;]

      • HellG

        What are you talking about? He could fake the image and make it full screen then take a picture of the screen, Even thought of that? :|

    • adi19956
  • mrsbelpit

    I kind of like the black & white emojis better...

  • Mikael Guggenheim

    "So, now that we've established that it's real"

    Actually you only establish that you felt this is real...

    • Knowles2

      It either real or a very very good fake, going through the processed of hacking Googlers accounts to post false images. Setting up fake bugs on chromium, Google groups, new Mood" buttons, it would be one of the most comprehensive fakeries I have seen in ages.

      • Mikael Guggenheim

        So very probably real.. I wasn't to serious about it. ;)

  • Nathaniel_Graham

    Need SMS integration for it to be useful for my purposes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

    Oh, Babel... like babble. I just got it.

    • Phil Kulak
      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

        Sorry, I should have elaborated. What I meant was that I get the second meaning. It's clearly a double entendre. But thanks for linking the literal definition.

  • storm14k

    Anyone get the idea that those flags mean this thing will run through Google translate so that people can type their own language. Do any IM systems do that yet?

    • Freak4Dell

      I sure hope so. That's the only reason for the Babel name that makes any sense. It will still be a stupid name, but that feature would be awesome nonetheless.

      • tym0

        Do any of you guys ever heard of emoji? Those flag are just part of emoticons.

        • Freak4Dell

          I don't use them other than the standard 4 or 5 smiley faces, so I had no idea.

  • blahhhh

    has anyone noticed that the emoticons bear striking resemblance of those on whatsapp?...differently themed but almost identical. compare them and say what u think

    • http://www.facebook.com/dileepanm Dileepan Mohanachandran

      Just posted that below. Not just the emoticons. But check out the layout. That's exactly like Whatsapp screen on my Android phone.

    • http://danielbrierton.ie Daniel Brierton

      WhatsApp have just ripped the Emoji from iOS/Mac for their Android app (which really surprises me). The reason why the different Emoji match up is because it's a part of the Unicode standard, so apps/OSs that implement Emoji usually have a similar set, just differently styled.

    • tym0
  • Loren Cogar

    I highly doubt Google is going to use something from the christian bible as their final product name.

  • Theratchetnclank

    Hope they release on iOS too. So i can message my friends that have iPhones.

    • Freak4Dell

      Ideally, it should be cross platform by reverting to SMS if the recipient doesn't have a compatible app installed. It doesn't solve the problem of iOS tablets, so an iOS app would still be nice, but at least that way, they're not leaving out iOS users completely.

  • YeahBoi4321

    Why not just name the App Google Messenger? If the messenger is suppose to unify Google Voice, Google+ Messaging, Google Talk, then I would assume Google Messenger would be a good name for the service/app.

    • Justin Swanson

      Because Google Talk sounds better.

      Edit: a response above said they might be sticking with it anyways. As Babel is probably a code name. but people love to freak!

      • Freak4Dell

        Definitely. Talk is a perfect name...simple, descriptive, and easy to say and remember.

        • Matthew Fry

          But you can't make it into a verb because it already is a verb. They need to make it a noun so people can make it a verb.

  • duse

    This all appears awesome, but I'm still concerned it won't also include Google Voice SMS into the same app/experience. So far we've only seen evidence that this will combine GTalk/G+ Messenger, and probably be available via Chrome, Android, and iOS, but still no strong indications of the app having anything at all to do with SMS (native or Google Voice).

    • Freak4Dell

      You can enable SMS in Talk via a Lab in your GMail settings. However, it works on some weird credit system thing, and the number is random. I was hoping it would use my GV number like it does for calls from Talk in GMail, but no go when I tested it. Hopefully they do something with that, though.

      • duse

        Yeah, exactly, they already do calls with your GV number via Talk, and it's great. Simply extend that to Android, and you have VoIP calls with your GV number over WiFi. Then just take the existing Voice SMS capabilities from the Voice website and bundle it into the new Talk experience. Could be amazing and blow Skype/iMessage/et. al out of the water.

  • Justin Swanson

    Ron Amadeo Do you think that the "Send photos with Google Talk when you upgrade to Google+" might have to do with the pseudo email addresses you found in the updated Gmail apk?

    Link to teardown: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/03/19/apk-teardown-gmail-4-3-seven-unused-notification-actions-whoosh-zoom-copypasted-parts-of-google-maps-and-some-kind-of-half-working-google-integration/

  • Mr. Mark

    am i the only one that doesn't know what babel is? :(

  • Sergio

    I wanna see a phone icon there, just to make simple calls...

  • Bio

    iphone messaging cough cough

  • Simon Belmont

    I use GTalk a lot. I hope this doesn't mean I'm being forced into G+ to continue using it.

    I mean, it wouldn't be the end of the world (maybe I'll join eventually), but I get it, Google, you want everyone and their mother to join G+. Stop forcing it on me.

  • http://twitter.com/dooitzedejong Dooitze

    What an ugly interface ewww

  • Benjamin Medina

    They *HAVE* to make this multiplatform from day one, it's of no use to many of us if they dont.

  • NateCress

    I definitely think that Google will launch this new service as a revamped Google Talk instead of Babel. As previously stated, one of the screen shots shows the app being called Google Talk. I noticed this when this report first came out, and it looks like others are coming to the same conclusion.