Latest Google Babel leak looks like the real deal – emoticons, smileys, and picture messaging revealed


I think it’s safe to say Google’s got some big things in store for chat on Android/Chrome devices. We seen countless leaks of the rumored “Google Babel” and it was earlier today we heard another rumor of Google possibly shopping WhatsApp — one of my personal favorite messaging services — to help soup up their soon-to-be messaging service.

Now, TechRadar is giving us another look at Babel directly from an alleged Google employee who’s been test driving the service in Gmail. You can see when the cursor is hovered over “feedback,” the text “What do you think about Babel in Gmail?” appears, once again confirming the name. Also, a plethora of emoji/emoticons/smileys will be at users’ disposal, brightening up conversations with icons of cats, flags, and other various items.

You’ll also notice a tiny camera icon which is a dead giveaway that users will finally be able to attach and send pictures via Google Talk — er, GChat — er, Babel. There’s only one problem. It looks like Google could be forcing users to sign up for Google+ before being allowed to share images. Interesting…

Of course, we’re sure that we’ll finally learn everything there is to know about Babel in just a few more weeks during this year’s Google I/O in May. With the Google Play Store 4.0 also leaking online, we’re wondering if Google isn’t planning for another UX revamp for Key Lime Pie to go along with some of their core apps. We’ll keep you posted.

[via TechRadar]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Wait, so picture messaging is only for G+ people?

    1. That’s the way it looks…

  2. That name has got to go.

    1. Thought I was the only one who hated it.

      1. No you are not. though the tower of babel story is nice, it sounds to me as if it’s a baby toy. maybe that’s why Google wants to buy whatsapp for the name j/k

        1. I’m pretty sure it’s a reference to the Babel Fish from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, not the Tower of Babel.

        2. If they take WhatsApp for the name of a doubtfully new service, I would abandon GTalk immediately. WhatsApp stands for insecurity and stupidy. I’m not communicating with those people.

      2. Its horrendous…. They need to just rebound talk as an all inclusive merged service.

    2. I get the feeling that the official name might become Bubble. Like bubbles of text appearing from each person. Google Bubble. Yeah, that sounds right.

    3. I liked it better when the rumored name was Babble.

    4. Change it to ‘Gabble’. Makes more sense on several levels.

    5. Yeah, I’m actually starting to miss the name Babble. I’m not saying it’s a good name but it still sounds better than Babel.

    6. Does it actually say Babel anywhere in these screens? I only see ‘Chat settings’, maybe Babel is just the codename for the new Chat/Talk app.

      1. First picture.

        1. Could be an internal name still and Google messing with the Blogs and nerds minds :p

        2. OK I didn’t see that one, but that’s just a label in Gmail, it doesn’t mention Babel in any of the app shots.

    7. I agree. They should just add whatever features they want to Google Talk. I think Talk is already a pretty great chat service, and it’s already integrated into all Google services… So I’m still unsure what improvements Babel is supposed to bring.

    8. Because of the fact that you, and more people, obviously care more about the name than anything else, I think the name is perfect.
      First rule in marketing: A bad name being talked about is better than a good name completely unknown.
      So they should keep this “work name”

      1. Well it is pretty much the only thing that seems to be confirmed, sort of. My #2 concern is that, I want it to be combined with Text Messaging, that is becoming less and less likely.

  3. “Photos can only be sent by Google+ accounts”. *sigh*

    This is fine in of itself I suppose, however, I’m starting to become concerned that in the coming years, a G+ account will be an implicit requirement to owing an Android phone. Worse, I get the feeling that eventually, having a Gmail account will not be possible without a G+ profile. I don’t want a Google+ account. At. All.

    Perhaps my tinfoil hat is just faulty.

    1. For me, it’s not even a privacy or tinfoil hat thing, I just think it’s going to annoy a lot of potential users that want to use Google services, but don’t want to bother with Google+ social crap.

      1. So create an account and don’t use it. Google+ won’t do anything unless you add people to circles or share things on it. I guess I just don’t see the big deal. Nobody is forcing you to start sharing photos of your cat on G+ just because you created a G+ account.

        1. exactly! its not like its going to jump out and bite you for FS.

        2. It’s the principle of it, plain and simple. I don’t want to be strong-armed into a service I have no interest in, and Google can cripple/close all of the services they want, it just makes me that much more determined NOT to use it. I’ve gone from indifference to truly hating Google Plus because it’s directly responsible for the destruction of several services I like, and because of the constant attempts to shove it down my throat. I’ve been dropping and finding alternatives to Google services as needed, and if this trend continues I’ll ultimately drop Android as well when Ubuntu’s mobile OS arrives.

          1. Good god, you are going to stop using something just because of one extra service that gets created? One that you don’t even have to use?

            Edit: You know what, no. I’m sorry. You can do whatever you want to do, for whatever reason you want to to. I just think that it’s a bit knee-jerk to just quit something for something else just because of one thing that is optional… That eventually the other people will do too. Because that is how they are all operating these days. But I do apologize for how angry it seemed.

          2. life is much easier if you don’t have principles

          3. “My stomach kind of fell as I felt how hard the world was going to be to me hereafter.” -John Updike, “A&P” Agreed, but some of us are just built that way.

      2. See… I really like the integration that g+ offers. People talk about not wanting one company to have all their information but anyone who uses facebook or even Apple for that matter has given almost all of their information to these companies. I think that Google’s philosophy on how they treat their user’s and their data is a lot better than the alternative. Google says that the user owns their own data. Interconnectivity is the future. The only difference between Google and everyone else is that they will let us walk away with our data. Can we fault them for trying to make our lives easier? While I do agree that they shouldn’t make us sign up for Google+ but let’s be honest people aren’t taking advantage of the features that g+ offers and most of us would leave facebook if we could.

        1. I’m not keen on sharing any of my personal information with the world, nor frankly, do I care about the minutia of other peoples’ personal information. That’s why I don’t own an iPhone, have a Facebook account or Instagram my mashed potatoes. Some will say I’m anti-social for that. Perhaps. I prefer to think I’m anti triviality and over sharing. Also though, I’m anti-ecosystem mentality.

          The idea that when I purchase a smart phone, I must now pledge allegiance and most of my personal information to a multi-national corporation irks me. I prefer a modular, anonymous approach. Historically, the Android OS has made that the most possible out of the major smartphone players. Now, my concern is that my accounts for Google+, Gmail, Youtube, etc are eventually going to become just “my Google account”. Then, we’d truly have a Google/iTunes dichotomy. I don’t want that.

    2. Aggressive promotion of Google+ is getting to a ridiculous point. I can’t even leave app feedback without a G+ account. I will rather leave Gmail and accept inferior service than to join G+. I’m sure there’ll be “Google+ free” open source Android projects as well. I will not let a single company manage all my online data.

    3. bizzie, thats a bit stupid. I dont want a paypal acccount, but it’s useful, so I have one. I dont want an ebay account, but I like buying stuff on auction, so I have one… big bloody deal!?

      1. Freddy-poo, you are clearly, inexplicably passionate about my disinterest in Google+. However, your analogies are ridiculous. A personal preference to not partake in Paypal or eBay, would almost certainly never be a requirement to owning an Android phone.

    4. There are plenty of alternatives out there. Google = Google+
      You should have recognized that by now.

  4. So, Google STILL isn’t going to bring in stock emojis? They co-created the darn things…

    1. I think they’re there, they just look a little different on the user’s end.

    2. This whole emoji thing is a big problem and possibly one of the main reasons most kids want iphones. They finally added emoji support in jellybean then made the emojis so small and all black and white that they are hard to read unless looking on a tablet. This demographic is being missed totally. My daughter who has been on android from day one is finally wanting to jump ship because of two things (other than pier pressure) 1. Real Emoji Support 2. Iphones IM Group chat thing.

  5. Great idea, atrocious name! Would it have killed them to have just called the darned app Google talking or Google messenger or something like that!

  6. Sweet! I’m a Google+ user and I love it more than Facebook and the Hangouts work so much better.

  7. No Google Voice support? Was really hoping this was the gateway to MMS . . . sad :(

  8. the name is odd…….but the cant wait for this. i dont mind the google+ thing. dont know why people are having a fit about it.

  9. But will it handle SMS on Android devices so my phone and tablet can be used for texting? It’s so inconvenient when I’m on the tablet and have to switch over. I know this is a first world problem, but seriously, this sort of service should have been implemented in 4.0 when they were simplifying things with Holo.

    1. I think it will.
      Google Talk already supports SMS so Babel/Babble/Baby probably will as well.

  10. Finally Color in the Emojis hopefully Key Lime Pie will Introduce the color ones natively

  11. God damn it, Please change that name google…..

  12. I don’t care about the name.

    In and of itself, I don’t mind Google+. But I do mind it forcing us to use our real names, so that any responses you do show the actual name. It has nickname field, but I have no idea what it’s used for.

    I’ve used Google Voice for years now, and have been wishing they would come out with APIs so it could be integrated in other apps like SMS is. Can’t have text messages read out by anything due to no APIs. Disappointing it is not in the new app coming out.

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