Readers, Babel no more. As first reported by a historically credible member of The Verge forums and confirmed today by a Tech Radar source, Google's unified messaging platform will be known as Hangouts when it's officially unveiled, and may launch as soon as Google I/O. Tech Radar's contact provided a screenshot that further lends credence to the new name: nestled among the emoticons and toolbar of the alleged interface, an expanded drop down menu includes particularly conspicuous options referencing "Hangouts," which is the closest thing to a dead giveaway that I can think of.


Google's efforts to consolidate its Talk, Google+ Hangout, and photo sharing services into a cohesive product have been rumored for the past several months. According to the leaks, Google Hangouts will launch with iOS, Android, and Chrome support, and largely mirror the functionality of competitors like Whatsapp. It remains to be seen whether or not Google's offering will be compelling enough to get users to switch.

Sources: Tech Radar, The Verge forums

Kyle Wiggers
Kyle Wiggers is an avid writer, web designer, podcaster, and video producer with an acute interest in all things technology. When not reviewing or commentating on gadgets, apps, and videos, he enjoys reading New Yorker feature articles, tinkering with computers, and playing the occasional game of Rock Me Archimedes.

  • JonJJon

    I don't really trust TechRadar news on rumours/leaks etc but my gosh do I hope this is wrong and it's not called Google Hangouts, here's hoping they just call it Google Talk or even Babel.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      The rumors seem to line up petty well. I think Babel is gone for real.

      • JonJJon

        Sad face :(

        • Eran Murat

          Come on, think about it. You want to tell a friend to use this app to talk to you.
          "Message me in Babel".
          "Message me in Hangouts".
          Now, which sounds better?

          • RitishOemraw

            Do people even say: Message me in whatsapp?
            Message me in GTalk?

            I assumed it would be:

            "GTalk to me"
            or what I say:
            "Whatsapp me" or in short: "App me" which can work for any app actually
            Or simply: "Just send me a message"

            Hangout is the better choice out of Google talk and babel I think.

            Now you can say: "Hang with me" "Come hang out with me" "Ill hangout with you later" "just send me a message"

            But I am hoping for sms integration (even though I can't remember the last time I sent a sms....but it would help adoption and bring more people on board,....a problem G+ suffered from but not as much as a personal chat app would)

          • didibus

            They should have picked a non confusing name. I already keep asking people to hangout, and they think I mean in real life, so I have to say you want to google+ hangout with me? Or, you want to hangout on Google+? Which isn't very nice, like when I say you want to skype? everyone understands, there is zero confusion, same for text me, or wanna whatsapp?

            So in a way, babel would have been nice, wanna babel? If it wasn't for it's heavy cultural connotations. Google should just have came up with a new name that doesn't have such cultural connotation.

            Unless, the app is so well integrated, that it is not a new thing. In which case, it becomes: Wanna chat? Text me, wanna video chat? In all cases, no one is confused, because Google Hangout would be the de-facto app to chat, video chat and text on Android. Than you would only need to be more precise on the PC, wanna chat on google+?, wanna video chat on google+? But never would wanna hangout? be sufficient, I will always have to say wanna hangout on google+?

            END RENT

          • RitishOemraw

            don't end your rent.....where are you gonna live....oh rAnt...nvm

            But I see your point...Maybe we should come up with our own lingo.
            Google plus....so Plus
            I'll plus you later (= I'll text you later)
            Come plus with me (= Come video chat with me)
            The benefit is it can be shortened to a simple +
            The negative is that using the + in g+ has the mention behaviour which we'll have to ignore for this use.


          • JonJJon

            I was more thinking the confusion with the current Google Hangouts, "Hey mate come hangout with me"
            "Can't do a video chat right now"
            "No I mean send me a message through Google Hangouts"
            "I thought that was just a video chat service on Google+?"

          • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

            I think the idea is that Hangouts will include the ability for text, voice, or video chat with any number of people. Makes sense to roll it all into one thing.

          • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

            Hangout with me vs. Babel with me. ;)

          • didibus

            Both are just as bad, except Hangout with me, people won't even know what I mean. They'll think I want to hangout with them, like, actually hangout, in real life.

      • alex

        In my opinion hangouts is better than talk or the horrible contradictory name Babel.

        • Cody Curry

          Better than Talk? What could be a better name than "Talk"? It says what I want to do with the app: talk to people.

          • Dave

            I bet "Talk" is a harder term to protect than "Hangout", in terms of intellectual property.

          • http://cassidyjames.com Cassidy James

            Except that Talk could be confused with Phone for new/less techie users?

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Why is Babel contradictory? I thought it was a clever name.

    • Mikael Guggenheim

      Seriously? They can call it Google Poo as long as it is a great service. Why all this talk about the name anyway?

      • didibus

        I think to me, it's because the name is a big initiator to have my friend use it. When I first told someone, wanna skype? They were like, what is that? And I could be, it's an app that lets us video chat, here's the link, try it out. From there on, I can tell him, wanna skype? And he knows which app to go into, and what follows.

        When I tell my friends wanna hangout? They all tell me, sure. Which I'm then, no I meant on Google+. And there like, WTF? So already, they come at it bedaffled and have no more interest they're just like, I don't get it, no I don't want to. Why don't we just hangout for real? etc. And if I'm like, it's really cool, we can video chat, and like watch youtube videos together, and chat also, with many people. They still don't get that hangout is a piece of software, a thing you do on Google+, they all still think I meant hangout as in the word of the dictionary. Even once they figure it out, and we do it, I still can't say Wanna Hangout? because every time they think the wrong one.

  • Kevin G. Sanchez

    Hopefully an update will merge Talk & Messenger into one single app.

    • Sqube

      This is the most important thing, in my opinion. If this new version of Android has more than one messaging app for G+ Messaging/SMS/Talk, I think they've made a mistake.

      • Freak4Dell

        Well, by all indications, we'll still have a different app for SMS, so there's that mistake you were taking about.

        • blunden

          Well, at least there is a reason for keeping SMS/MMS separate. That app is open source and probably needs to be for a mobile platform that touts itself as open source. Similarly, making the dialer a properietary app wouldn't make much sense either. Also, some US carriers require changes to that app to work optimally.

          However, what they probably could do would be to optionally allow people to use the new app for SMS/MMS too. Making it the official SMS/MMS app would probably be a mistake though.

    • http://turbofool.com Jarrett Lennon Kaufman

      Well, the indications so far have been that that's the entire point of this. If they didn't do that, it would kind of negate the base concept.

      • Jones

        No, there's been no such thing. It looks as if this is a NEW app, that can communicate WITH Talk, but that Talk will still exist.

        Aka - doing it wrong.

        • Dan

          What have we seen that indicates that talk will still exist?

        • http://www.modminecraft.com/ Nick Coad

          Why do you think that?

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

          There's been no rumors suggesting that either. The point of this is to merge all of Google's chat services into one consolidated service. That's why it's called Babel; because the different chat services cannot communicate with each other, like the Tower of Babel legend.

  • T

    Switch?! Hell, I'll do whatever Google says...

  • Lupe Fiasco

    I'm wonder if Google plans on keeping the "To Add a Friend please type in their Email Address" setup.

  • Gt

    They only have one chance: buy watsapp

  • Raymond Berger

    I'm praying for Google Voice SMS support!

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    Rumor on Rumors about Rumors

  • Grimmjow

    Planning to broadcast my life permanently with Hangouts on Air ;)

  • http://www.ericschuetz.com/ Eric Schuetz

    And yet no Google Voice integration. Fail.

  • pHyR3

    i'll switch but what a bad name. as the target audience of the name "Hangouts" even I hate it.

  • Zak Taccardi

    will this still include voice integration?

  • http://www.facebook.com/babywarez Gerardo Sarabia Molina

    Ugly name, I prefer Babel/Babble, Talk... something more user-friendly.

  • Julien Duplant

    Makes sense, but I really liked the name Babel.

    • Sergio

      Babel was a new word for a new app and also much easier to pronounce and remember in latin languages ​​(spanish, french, italian...)

  • JordanMcRae

    Big question, SMS/MMS support?

    • cas_e

      Guarantee it won't have it at launch.

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

        How can you guarantee it won't have it?

  • Chase Weadock

    hopefully it will include all text and G voice messages as well!well at least text

  • Babs Oyed

    Hope GV integration is included

  • SenseOffender

    All I want to see is the mobile interface, make sure it isn't clunky

  • Darek Slaby

    You mean Google is making something similar to Apple's iMessage? I thought only Apple copies others and takes the credit for it?

    • Chipsy4

      Really? How about BBM then? According to your logic Apple did indeed copy.
      It's just a unification of already existing messaging platforms. I really hope for you it was a troll post and not a serious one.

      • Nevi_me

        Best believe, trolls are as serious as anything else, mostly they seriously are clueless about things. I agree on the BBM bit.

      • Darek Slaby

        iOS has many features that are not new, I'll say that. But a lot of people have been bashing Apple for copying when every software developers copies some form of code. Just wanted to state this before people start ripping iOS when Android does the same. As software develops and competition increases there's no way out but to copy.

        • Chipsy4

          Ok, that's more than fair enough. I agree with the statement that not every idea needs to be new and indeed there is no way around incorporating (copying if you want) ideas from others as software develops. I just imagine that it's Apples demeanor, by which I mean they sometimes try to depict things as new and innovative while it isn't necessarily the case, is what pisses (a lot of) people off.

          • The_Chlero

            The worst thing is that they fight back and patent it when that "idea" was "open" ( not open source software but open to use freely like color tv or something)

        • http://anaershadowynomaly.deviantart.com Farran Lee

          I think you'll find the problem is that Apple copy existing things and then claim it as their own and try to patent it.

          • Darek Slaby

            Ill admit that is one aspect of Apple that I do not like.

  • Konstantinos

    I hope SMS/MMS(basically the whole SMS app) doesn't merge with this. :x

    • http://www.jlgatewood.com/ J.L. “J7″ Gatewood StarrWulfe

      Impossible maybe or just optional possibly; the SMS/MMS app isn't universal from maker to maker and the system isn't the same from country to country unfortunately. Here in Japan for example, there's no MMS at all. All phones have separate email addresses and you can't send messages with attachments like pictures to phone numbers.

  • Bojan Gutic

    I'm not gonna lie, it's an awful name. Even if everyone on AP, /r/Android, etc uses it, the vast majority of people will see an app called hangouts on their phone and never touch it. Just being completely honest here.

    • Let’s Hangout

      I do not agree. Hangouts is for hanging out together even thou we're apart, it's about so much more than just text or talk or sms. I think you're gonna be able to instantly share not only text but images, videos, launch video chat or call. They could later add in location and route sharing. With Google Glass integration that would make a lot of sense. "Let's Hangout on Google" - I love it :-D

      • bwarez

        But it isn't a universal name. It's OK in English because of the context but doesn't apply the same around the world. I live in Mexico and sounds stupid and unable to success in the Latin market. Babel is way better.

      • didibus

        Only works in English, and must always specify "on Google". I think Skype was a way better name. And what google picked doesn't rival with it.

  • tym0

    And now I'm afraid they'll just add another messaging service to the crowd without merging anything. Don't do that google!

  • andy_o

    I believe the ability to just use your phone number and not have to create an account and add contacts individually will be key. Pretty much no one I know on iOS would use this if it's not completely effortless, without having to open a gmail account, or even log in using their existing one. There's also the fact that on iOS you have to have the app open for better reliability and speed, and when you close it you're at the mercy of Apple's push service.

    • didibus

      Ya, I'm already turned off by that pic saying you can't use this feature because Google+ is not available on your account. That already means 70% of my friends I will never be able to send pics too ever.

  • tym0

    And now I'm afraid they'll just add another messaging service to the crowd without merging anything. Don't do that google!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=739248066 Jazib Nasim

    Finally a standalone app to beat the likes of Skype (including many obvious apps).

  • http://www.dsaif.com/ Saif

    Where's the voice chat icon? I hope they didn't remove it.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    I have no doubt that this is ready to launch, the incredibly well timed Google Chrome update that Google posted about yesterday featuring a push messaging API is very likely to be highly related - and I have to say I am frankly disappointed that while admittedly not specifically Android related - for not a single Tech blog to pick up on the news (excepting Engadget who are 24+ hours late to the party) - it's a huge deal IMHO - CROSS PLATFORM push messaging built into the web browser - it's going to change the landscape of web apps! Especially communication ones......

    • http://www.jlgatewood.com/ J.L. “J7″ Gatewood StarrWulfe

      Keen eyes Andy. People are forgetting, those other apps don't have desktop clients that are multiplatform. For example, I use LINE here in Japan, due to it being heavily pushed here in Japan (not to mention some friends work for NAVER in Shibuya who makes it!) It's a cool app, but suffers on 2 points for me--
      Point#1: You cannot leave it open for long periods of time on an Android phone because memory management eventually puts it to sleep, and they don't use Google's cloud notification system...the iOS version uses Apple's notification system, so even if the app was never launched, it'll still get messages.
      Point #2: The desktop app is MacOS and Windows only. I use Linux everywhere. I also have a Chromebook. Fail.

      Google's Talk and the new Hangouts uses their native cloud messaging framework. Plus any web browser can already be used with Google Talk. Not to mention any Jabber client too. Open standards, y'know. This is what "cross-platform" compatible means.

      With the new Hangouts, it'll be like having all these apps rolled into one super messaging client. Don't be surprised to see Gmail give you options to chat/hangout/VoIP Call too...

      • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

        Close... Google Talk uses XMPP and the (Android) cloud messaging service is piggybacking on the XMPP connection - I don't yet know the mechanics behind the chrome push messaging platform though as it requires the user to be signed in - it could also be piggybacking on XMPP. In any case it's going to change the way we use web apps :)

  • The_Chlero

    Well, to be fair and honest I disabled those apps because there two main apps that I use to communicate at a daly basis: whatsapp for text messages with all my phone contacts (which are not necessarely my friends) and Facebook messenger for all my close friends and familiars which I do have on facebook.

    I dont really need ( as many million people in the world like me) another new message system

    • bwarez


      • The_Chlero


  • Javed A Mansuri

    @google must have also include Google Voice in Babel #GoogleBabel

  • http://thedangerbrain.com/ Alfonso Surroca

    I hope it's called Hangouts, and I've got a slightly wall-of-text explanation as to why:

    While I've grown used to calling it Talk or Chat over the years, I can't help but think back to Andy Rubin's pre-Android days, back to the Sidekick, when I think of Hangouts essentially absorbing all of Google's messaging duties. The persistent chat experience I had when me and all my friends had T-Mobile Sidekicks was a lot more like we were in hangouts than chats, talking, or messaging. No messaging service since then has been able to replicate that precise (and awesome) feeling of being persistently connected to my closest friends. I think the name Hangouts conveys that kind of communication better than Chat, Talk, Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, LINE, kik, etc.

    • didibus

      What about the confusion with Hangout, the real life activity?

  • ferto

    I like more the name babel (short, clear, common...).

    I don't know how it sound in others languages, but in Spanish the name "hangouts" is a bit difficult to say and strange, many of my friends say "hangs What?"

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

      Talk was the best name, I think.

  • Shawn Suther

    Just to chime in in this: I tend to think (perhaps its magical thinking) that all can be won or lost through a name. First impressions, public acceptance or ridicule, and esp with something so activity/interactivity based it should have the ring of being a verb as well as a service.
    "Hangouts" seems a Very poor choice. Sounds sophomoric, instantly dated. I can't imagine using it in a sentence casually w/o rolling my eyes.

  • http://shanked.me/ Shank

    I have a feeling it's going to replace Google Talk but be called differently. Why? GTalk is updated via the Play Store, so anyone with an Android device will suddenly get the new messenger. If the icon suddenly changes, along with the name, people will probably wonder what just got added to their device.

    If G+ doesn't work on apps accounts, but they don't want to hinder everyone using it, then the app will still work independently of +, so + will lose it's current messaging client.

  • John

    being that whatsapp is about to start charging, it really is a no brainer. I would have used it anyhow, but now I hope more people will follow along so we could make this "the new whatsapp".

  • zueers

    emoticons are ugly