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Google Babel News: Google Voice Support “Eventually” Coming, Synced Notifications, “First Class” iOS Experience


Whenever Google Babel does arrive for public consumption, we’re starting to believe it will be everything we have ever asked for in a unified messenger service. We’re talking synced notifications, cross-platform conversation experiences, a new UI, photo sharing, quick access to live video chats, and on-the-record chat history viewing from anywhere. According to sources of ours who have shared new information with us (including a feature list), we’re getting all of this and more. 

Google Babel as a product is a collaboration of work by the Google+, Android, Chrome and Apps teams. Through their combined efforts, as was previously reported by us, we’ll see this unified service launch in Gmail and as Android, iOS, and Chrome apps. What’s particularly interesting, is that Google is talking about the iOS app as being the first time they have built a “first class iOS experience” when it comes to a messaging service. I can’t say that I’m familiar with their current iOS offerings, so I’ll leave the iOS experts to weigh in on the quality of Talk (if there even is an app) and G+ Messenger.

We’ve also learned that Google Voice support is “eventually” coming to Babel, however, the service initially only brings together Talk, Hangouts, and Messenger. This was an inclusion we were hoping to see from the beginning, but won’t, from what we understand. No specific details on how Voice will blend into Babel were given, just that it’s coming later on down the road.

Continuing on – there will be notification syncing across devices and platforms. For example, if you have a browser open on a desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone that are all attached to Babel and receive a message, once you check that message on any of the devices, the notification will disappear from the others. As someone who operates a half-dozen devices at any time throughout a day, I can’t tell you how important this feature is. It may be the most important.

We’ll also see a brand new UI that promotes conversations and is applied across all versions of Babel. You’ll be able to send photos, use 800+ emoji (not an exaggeration), look back at any on-the-recrod conversation from any device, group chat, and of course, carry all conversations with you to and from any device.

Here is a feature list according to a Google memo (colorful commentary is theirs, not ours):

  1. Brand new UI. We’ve designed a new UI that’s applied across all clients and promotes conversations.
  2. Stay in sync.  With just one conversation list and experience across mobile and desktop, everything is always in sync. Install the Chrome app, the Android app, and iOS app.
  3. Desktop app.  Stop laying whack a mole across blinking browser tabs. With the new Chrome app your conversations continue outside of the browser.
  4. Keep a group conversation going to coordinate with your team, and start a Hangout with a single tap whenever you need to talk face-to-face.
  5. Be notified…just once.  Get notifications on your two phones, tablet, laptop, and desktop. Open it on one and watch the others disappear. If you’re actively using your computer or phone we’ll even intelligently notify you on just one of those endpoints. Magic!
  6. Message more than just text.  Add a photo to the conversation and/or send some of the 800+ emoji to your coworkers. Kittens and poop are particularly helpful in explaining complex issues.
  7. Get nostalgic.  Scroll back in time and relive any (on-the-record) conversation, on any device.
  8. More ways to talk.  For the first time we are building a first class iOS experience. Try out our very early preview on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

I will say that the screenshots posted yesterday by TechRadar appear to me to be the real deal. From what I have seen, the emoji box does slide up from the bottom, though I’ve also seen the box with a black background. Conversations will look the same – threaded with profile pictures of the participants.

Still no word on a release date.

New thoughts on Babel?

  • natalie

    somebody at least answer me

    • mariyah


  • natalie

    wat is goin on with this babel stuff?

  • natalie

    you shall play babbel and learn different speak

  • Ok, now let’s give a good hit to skype 😀

  • zim star

    Je ne suis pas d’accord, je pense que cela est une très bonne idée.iMessage ne fonctionne que sur iBidules et Mac, Whatsapp demande une inscription supplémentaire et les SMS illimites ne le sont pas souvent de ou vers l’étranger.
    De plus en plus de personnes utilisent Gmail comme messagerie principale et vu que Babel va y remplacer Gtalk cela va permettre d’avoir une messagerie unifié et la seule vraiment cross plateforme à ce jour.

    iphone 5S

  • moi

    Hmm … maybe a little problem there ???
    An appication for chatting, messaging Babel exists on android !
    And it’s not owned by google !
    just see that :

  • Gianflavio Gordillo

    you people still text? really? i want a chatting app like whatsapp/kik/chaton but that people will actually get AND keep, syncing it with my phone number. (and also be forced to have kinda like imessage)

    texting is old. it’s annoying, takes a while, texts don’t send, etc.

  • I wish SMS would fizzle out for a new standard. Apple’s trying to with iMessages, except their unfriendliness to other platforms is going to kill it.

  • Rabid Rotty

    I’d use voice, but Google won’t allow me to pick a Canadian #

  • The Verge referenced droid-life! Thought that was pretty cool.

  • I know this is stupid, but would this service bring the same kinda features as BBM? Like the ability to see when contacts have “read” or are “typing” haha

  • I’m with everyone else. Add text messaging. {{-_-}}

  • Anthony Washington

    I with most of you when it comes to the non inclusion of SMS. I really wanted this to be in. But now that I think about it…with all the services that are going to be baked in, is there any reason to have want for SMS anymore?

  • rannzann

    Sounds like a solid plan to me, I like it.


  • Andy

    hope it includes some sort of video chat as well.

    • Knowles2

      hangouts will be for video chat.

  • Lol, look again they are forcing users to join boring Google+ to enjoy full features of non Google+ services.

    • Why is Google+ boring? According to this poll: http://lifehacker.com/5994062/whats-your-social-network-of-choice Google+ is the better social network. Just gotta make some friends buddy. 🙂

      • Thanks, but I was one of those users who got early access to Google+
        I got 20k+ friends but then I started hating google and google+ because of different Google policies.

        • Ray

          So Google+ isn’t really boring then, you just don’t like their policies?

          LOL @ 20k+ friends. I’m sure you did!

          If you find Google+ boring, then you’re following the wrong people. There is more interesting/engaging stuff on Google+ in one day then I’d find on Facebook or Twitter in a month!

  • Daniel

    Would like to see SMS integration, though equally would rather see Handcent SMS integrate with this instead. Also would be interested to see how this works on a desktop computer, or if they’ll have a stand-alone app like Talk has. My parents use Talk because it runs always, checks their email, and is an easy, persistent way to use gTalk when they’re home to chat with me (and I’d assume others). Also, I use Pidgin at home to connect to gtalk, so I’d imagine a lot of this won’t even help me as far as unifying platforms.

  • Just an FYI… For those of you looking to do SMS as well in Babel… Google+ Messenger already has this feature… Type in a number and a text will be sent. 🙂 It works… I’ve done it.

  • mgamerz

    “We’ve also learned that Google Voice support is “eventually” coming to
    Babel, however, the service initially only brings together Talk,
    Hangouts, and Messenger.”

  • Liquidretro

    I am hoping we get an updated desktop app too. While I like Chrome apps when I have 40 Chrome tabs open, things can get a little lost. A Desktop app is lighter too.

  • Hopefully down the road when Google Voice is integrated they will allow MMS.

  • Bmandrews7

    I got this. It’s a bit complex so I’ll try to break it down. It’s like this: sms is a cat that pooped on the floor. You wake up to make coffee and step in it. I of course you look for the closest cat to punt because you are furious. But they are nowhere around. It’s like they know they got you and they are somewhere purrgiggling about how slick they are. And good luck getting them back somehow they won’t even let you get close. You are like “I wish there was a way I could unify my foot with the cat’s back end” but you can’t. It’s just not possible even the almighty Google can’t do it. I hope this helped
    Your right Google that did make it easier…….. Stupid cats

  • will this include the “gmail sms”?

  • Steven Rothermel

    I really hope KLP introduces a new SMS app that completely rips off iMessages. I just dont know how this is going to work for older versions of android unless they get the messaging app into the play store…but even then, with touchwiz, Sense ect. how will those update if at all?

    like others, without SMS integration, this is just a way to integrate services i rarely use as it is. yes, i get one or two less icons in my app drawer…but i still am not going to use it. this NEEDS sms integration. have a bable app for iOS, and integrate this into the SMS app from here on out, open source the code so samsung, LG, Moto, ect can throw this into the next update and this should be a great success.

  • Bauce40

    Google doesn’t have an iOS Talk app, never used Google+ messenger, don’t even think one exists so it won’t be hard to top those

  • flyinggerbil

    sounds good to me.