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“Babel” Chat Name Confirmed Again, New Google Play 4.0 Makes Another Appearance

new google play

This afternoon, we’re getting what appears to be a second confirmation that Google’s new unified chat will be called Babel. We first reported the name as being “Babel and not the previously rumored “Babble,” but a user on G+ (Patric Dhawaan) noticed the name pop up today while “pruning” his inbox. The message (pictured below) says that recent conversations of his have been moved to the trash because one or more are a part of “Babel chat.” According to our sources, Babel is being tested internally with employees of Google and that the service will span across Android, iOS, Chrome, Google+ and Gmail. 

babel message

So what does this mean? Is Babel on the verge of launching? One would imagine that Google would wait until Google I/O next month to unveil something this major, but Google has always marched to the beat of their own drum, so I wouldn’t rule anything out. Then again, if it’s only being tested internally at this time, May sounds about right for a potential launch.

These are the features being told to employees:

  • Access the same conversation list from anywhere
  • A new, conversation-based UI
  • Advanced group conversations
  • Ability to send pictures
  • Improved notifications across devices

The second part of this story comes via YouTube employee Eileen Rivera, who posted up a screenshot of the new Google Play 4.0 that we first broke news on back in March. As you can see from her screenshot (pictured above), there is a Play store icon with a dog dish and bone inside, a clear sign that they are dogfooding this to employees only. She didn’t post any other details, and this front page is already something we have posted,  but we still love signs of the new goodies coming to Android. Still no word on when we’ll see this – I/O would probably be a good guess for this as well.

Here is our full preview:


Via:  +Patric Dhawaan | +Eileen Rivera | Android Central

Cheers Scott!

  • Eamon

    So rolling out Babel AND buying What’s App? Going to kill What’s App?

  • Good news. Hopefully we can send files in addition to pics.

  • llk


  • joejoe5709

    It’s a good time to be a part of Google. Babel looks awesome and the new play store looks like a solid update as well.

  • jeffxallen

    I still will never understand why the “my apps” button is in the overflow still. I go there more than anywhere else.

  • Guest

    They need to change more then the design

  • I’m really hoping that Babel solves the ongoing group chat issues with Messages. For me, the default app doesn’t play well with group text messages from iPhone and Blackberry users combined.

  • Why can’t Google just release something exclusive for Android? They have this obsession with putting their products on iOS when their attention should be focused on their own operating system. Features like Google Now and Maps should never be released on iOS so that people may actually say “Wow. Android can actually do some useful things that my iPhone can’t.”

    • burntcookie90

      they only care about the ad revenue, and data accumulation.

    • WickedToby741

      While Android exclusives are great, aren’t you being a little bit selfish? You kind of remind me of the iPhone users throwing a fit about Instagram for Android. There’s no reason that something good can’t be shared across platforms and for Google it actually makes more sense. They have a lot of Google users firmly planted in the iOS ecosystem and this allows them to still really use Google services. Besides, who wants a universal chat service that you can’t talk to your iPhone toting friends?

      Now about the iPhone possibly getting Now before a majority of android users is another story. I’m not opposed to feature parity but I don’t like it when iPhone users have better access to Google services than Android users.

      • Xavier Spruill

        iOS has plenty of “exclusives” (especially in the game department) that makes Android users feel like they need an exclusive or two to brag about their platform of choice. There are probably a dozen cross platform messaging services available in every app store. Feeling like “Apple has one, Blackberry has one, Microsoft has one, Google users should have one” doesn’t seem like such a malicious thing. And honestly how “cross platform” is supporting just two OSes, knowing that Babel doesn’t support Blackberry and probably may never support Windows with this weird disdain for Microsoft that Google had been displaying as of late.

        • ERIC REED

          I will be more then happy as an IOS user when we can all follow along during a group chat. iMessage is awesome, but if Google can bring along something for both platforms, that would work better for all of us.

    • Alex Murphy

      You’re wrong if you think Android is Google’s #1 priority. They want to get as many of their services in front of as many users as possible. That would be their mission whether they had their own browser or OS or not.

      • br_hermon

        EXACTLY right!

      • Austin Wang

        Yes, in fact Eric Schmidt even said that Android is helpful, but not essential, for Google’s success

      • PhoenixPath

        Am I the only one who thinks that Play 4.0 app is fugly as hell??

        • Brandon Golway

          I like the current one better, but it takes a few seconds to load each time, even over Wifi since it’s loaded with graphics, hopefully this will fix that issue.

          • PhoenixPath

            I suppose. Heck, I still miss the original GB one, where you could bring up your list of apps (all apps; currently installed or otherwise), and long-press to install.

          • Brandon Golway

            One thing that I definitely won’t miss is the extra screen that pops up when you hit “install”, it’s just annoying and put another step in your way.

          • PhoenixPath

            Indeed. The fewer clicks the better.

    • PLL

      As they are trying to unify communications platforms, this is one area where I not only don’t mind Android first, but I’m really happy it’ll be cross-platform. The more people who are on this platform, the more useful it will be (it would be great if they had APIs to allow other platforms to hook into their service though).

    • Elliot Kotis

      Google is a company of advertising, they make A LOT of money off of ads etc. And not like Apple, they care, and because they don’t care whether 1298312739% of phones are android (they have the majority of the market anyway), and because they know people have friends that have iOS they release it on iOS also, and Google Now is android only, and android does have advantages that google give.

    • Brandon Golway

      That’s pretty much the reason why my ex-girlfriend switched from the iPhone 4 to the SGS3 (at my suggestion) because she saw all the things that I could do with my HTC Rezound/Galaxy Nexus that she would never be able to do with her iPhone 4.

    • Jon

      I can see what you mean. It upsets me to see people who talk bad about Android and then get to use apps that should just be for Android. But Google knows what they are doing. I just HATE how most of the apps for iOS are better looking and better polished than its Android counterpart.

    • joejoe5709

      My wife has an iPhone and I’d love to see integration across the board for all platforms. It’s good for Google and it’s good for consumers like me. It’s like pulling nails to get her to use Google services, but when she finally does – she loves them. So why not share the love?

      It only kinda pisses me off when iOS gets apps that are “better” than ours. If you’re going to spread across all the platforms like that, I’d expect their own platform to come first or at least be equal.

  • Wesley Schwartz

    I want babel more than I’ve wanted anything ever.

    • Steve Benson

      I’m not sure if Babel is going to be everything people are hoping it to be. I hope I’m wrong though.

  • Tyler Casilio

    I’m liking the look of the new store 🙂

  • Samvelavich

    doesnt that chekcered pattern on the new google play look kinda like the back of the nexus 4?

    • Nathan D

      The settings app of Nova Launcher has the same texture to it. It looks very nice.

      • Larizard

        A lot of bloggers actually hate that pattern lol.

  • I still hope this is coming sooner than IO

    • Bionic

      Not a chance in hell

  • MikeSaver

    do you think this will merge with text message too kind of like how the apple messanger does?

    • WickedToby741

      I think it would make the most sense. That way you’d get better adoption and less complication. What’s the point of a universal messaging service if it leaves out a major form of messaging? I think you’ll start to see this as a general trend in the industry. Facebook is doing the same thing with Home and it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Microsoft eventually does it with Skype.

  • Trevor

    Very excited for Babel. Hopefully I won’t have to rely on the horrible Google Voice app anymore.

    • Tony Allen

      Hopefully I don’t lose my Google Voice Visual Voicemail though.. :-/

  • Austin Warren

    That is beautiful.

  • Nexus_FrEak

    I’m more curious about that 4G LTE on the screen shot above! Surly thats not a galaxy nexus right?

    • JetBlue

      T-Mobile 4G LTE? or perhaps a new device that we don’t know about?

      • JosephMoreno

        Nope. Its Verizon branded. That’s most likely a RAZR HD.Moto devices got the stock buttons in 4.1 I believe.

        • Dylan Patel

          Razr M but close.

    • Moto device. Noted somewhere else that the Smart Actions icon is visible.

    • Tyler

      It doesn’t look like the icons from my Galaxy Nexus when it has LTE and WiFi on. It looks more like a RAZR HD notification bar then a Nexus.

    • Resolution is not same as Nexus 4. X Phone?

      • Austin Warren

        Yes they magically made it and are using it.

      • Danrarbc

        X.Phone would not be qHD. This is a RAZR M.

    • Nexus_FrEak

      @twitter-250785234:disqus @disqus_K54mylPKoj:disqus Didnt think about either one!!

    • It is interesting. Most Google employes have iPhones or Samsungs. Not a lot have Nexus 4’s.

      • zachjen

        how do you know this?

        • I have had many friends intern at Google’s headquarters in California. You be surprised.

          • Elliot Kotis

            Because…My good sir….they probably get sick of it….I’ll give you an example, if you work at macca’s or burger king you won’t want to eat it, it gets sickening.

          • yeah, but if you work at Ruth’s Chris (google) are you going to get sick of eating (using) delicious steaks (the nexus 4)? doubt it.

      • DroidFTW

        85% of Googler’s use Apple computers so I assume a good chuck of those also use iOS devices. Mark Zuckerman uses an iPhone and a Mac and in a picture of the Facebook offices there were only Apple computers. I know we like to pretend that only tech novices use Apple but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    • That’s a RAZR M. She uses a RAZR M and a Nexus 4.

      • kurt hinds

        She does use a razr m. You are right!

    • Ben Pasternak

      Sure looks alot like a RAZR maxx HD

    • You’re capable of getting T-Mobile or AT&T’s LTE on the Nexus 4…

      • Austin Warren

        There’s a work around. Just not officially

    • Austin Warren

      Definitely Verizon

    • Austin Warren

      It is not, and don’t call me Shirley

  • I can’t wait for that new play store!

  • JetBlue

    2 different things also, The reading section is labelled as Reading 2.0, leading us to believe this will be marketed as Play Store 2.0 perhaps? and The strange header background for the top taskbar remains from earlier leaks and information.

    • Nope. Reading 2.0 is the current promotion in the play store. Load it up now and you’ll see Reading 2.0 right there.

      It’s showing in the screenshot same as it does now, just this is the new store.

      • JetBlue

        Never said reading section wasn’t reading 2.0 was saying the new play store could be play store 2.0 due to reading being 2.0

        • Play store will be 4.0. I think the 2.0 for reading apps is just referring to a promo.

        • theineffablebob

          Google Play Store is currently v3.10.14

    • Reading 2.0 is the promotion for Google Play Books and other apps like Taptu and Flipboard.