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Rumor: Google Babel Will Actually Launch Publicly as Google “Hangouts”? (Updated)

google hangout

According to a member of The Verge Forums, Google Babel will be called Google Hangout (or is it Hangouts?) at public launch. Now, normally we don’t take random internet forum threads as being gospel, but this particular user also predicted/leaked every single thing that Google was planning to announce at its winter NYC Android event a full 10 days before it ever happened. We’re talking about the event that was supposed to be the unveiling of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 3G, Nexus 10, and Android 4.2, yet never happened because it was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. You can see his post here. So we’re leaning towards giving this guy some credit.

Back to Babel. 

Babel, as you all know thanks to numerous reports from sources of ours, is Google’s new unified chat service that will work across Android, iOS and Chrome. We first reported the name as being “Babel” and also provided the entire feature list that will accompany its launch. According to our sources, the service combines Talk, Hangouts, and Messenger, but will include Google Voice at some point in the future.

Google has been testing it internally for some time now as “Babel,” but wouldn’t surprise us at all to see the name change when it goes public. Babel itself is an odd name, to say the least, so calling it “Hangout” makes a lot of sense and also feeds off of Google+. According to the source of this rumor, Babel was likely a previous codename, but is now being referring to internally as Hangout. I don’t want to get too far ahead of things, but if we’re changing names, I’d assume that means we’re getting mighty close to a launch. Thankfully, Google I/O is less than two weeks away and would be the perfect time to unveil this new service.

This Verge forum member also said that the icon looks like the Messenger icon, only is green instead of red. He must be referring to the app shortcut for Messenger rather than the icon in the nav bar of Google+, since the icon in G+ is actually green already. He mentioned that he had a chance to play with it briefly and that it came off as being a major Google Talk overhaul.

As far as other Google news goes, he mentioned in his Babel thread that Google Now is getting location-based reminders at some point in the near future. He didn’t have news on any new devices, though.

What do you think of the name, Hangout?

Update: The tipster over at The Verge forums has posted an update to his original post and is now calling it “Hangouts” instead of “Hangout.” While he was on point with his inside knowledge of the winter Android, something seems off about this name. Google could easily go with Hangouts as a name since it’s already a familiar choice thanks to Goolge+, but sources of ours still believe it’s being called Babel internally. Either way, we’ll know in less than two weeks. Nothing to freak out over.

Via:  Verge Forums

Cheers Open1Your1Eyes0!

  • Chris Feragotti

    Babel’s a perfect name. I really hope people putting it down just don’t like it, and it’s not that they have no idea of the reference–either biblical or H2G2.

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  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    wouldn’t this dethrone texting plans? so i’d only need data.

  • I like Google Babel, personally. Sort of quirky, like Google.

  • Gearhead

    I am a Google Voice user and I just had someone call me this morning and my laptop popped up with a Chrome notification that I was receiving a call via Google + Hangouts. I have never received notifications for incoming calls before this morning. Looks like there is substance to the rumors in this article, and GVoice is part of the plans.

    • codemonkey85

      I’ve had the ability to answer Google Voice calls from Chat (the Chrome extension) for a while now (as well as make calls). I don’t remember seeing anything about Hangouts from this notification though.

  • I’d prefer if it were Talk, it makes more sense…

  • Too little too late? More of my friends use FB than have a Google account (or use G+ or GChat).

    • Ray

      If it is cross platform and works off a mobile number rather then a Google account (doubtful but possible), similar to how WhatsApp functions, it may not be too late.

      The thing that stops me from using alternative messaging platforms is that not everyone uses them – that includes Facebook. So I always go back to good ol’ SMS because I know everyone has it.

      One thing Google must do is incorporate SMS into the app. Without this ability it’s pretty much useless from the start IMO. I don’t want to switching between apps to see/send/receive SMS. It all needs to be contained in the one app.

      If Google can do this right and release an application that is available on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac and maybe even Linux, I’d say they are in a very good position to take instant messaging to a whole new level.

      • works off a mobile number

        FB Messenger already does this. In fact, it has every feature you mentioned and more:

        – Cross platform: works in a browser on any OS, + Windows desktop client
        – SMS: Included in the mobile app

        – Syncing: all conversations can be retrieved and participated in from anywhere (mobile app, web browser etc.)

        • sirmeili

          So if someone sends me an SMS (to my phone), it will show up in Facebook messenger on the site? (just asking for clarification)

          • No(t yet), but you can send and receive SMS from within the FB Messenger mobile app via a settings toggle. SMS threads appear as separate conversations within the app.

            If you want cloud-based SMS sync + send + receive, use MightyText. Unfortunately, MightyText doesn’t do IM though.

            Personally I use FB Messenger by default & MightyText for the 1 person I chat with who isn’t (yet) an FB friend.

          • sirmeili

            I do use MightyText, and I love it. I Guess my point was that FB doesn’t actually quite do everything that Ray wants it to do, which is an all in one combined messaging app.

            I’d Love it if my messaging app could decide the best place to send a message for me (or to all of them) instead of me having to keep track of who was using what.

            That said, I don’t use the FB messaging app. It’s not that I hate FB, I just don’t trust them with too much information. I’m not saying I trust Google either, but I probably trust them more than FB at this point in time.

          • all in one combined messaging app

            No one does this just yet, except maybe for iMessage, but it’s not cross-platform. AFAIK FB Messenger is the only option other than iMessage and MightyText that allows you to access your conversations via the desktop. This is a huge feature for me as I’m far more productive on my PC than on my GNex and hate typing on phones.

            I’d Love it if my messaging app could decide the best place to send a message for me

            I think iMessage does this?

            I’m not saying I trust Google either, but I probably trust them more than FB

            You trust a company that’s been reading your personal emails, web searches, and web surfing history and using them to display ads for nearly 10 years more than a social network that only has as much info on you as you volunteer to it? I really don’t get the antipathy towards FB on DL. They do the same thing Google does, except Google had a silly “Don’t be evil” policy that no longer exists but apparently everyone here still believes in like it’s dogma. *steps off soap box* Do what works best for you though.

          • sirmeili

            I never said anyone does do it, just that the idea that FB messenger does everything that Ray wants, is incorrect. I’m with you about mighty text and it’s use. I wish I had found it before I paid for Tablet Talk, which is no where near as good.

            iMessage is very close to what I want, but unfortunately, it’s iPhone only. Its one of the things I hate about Apple these days. They limit all their “cool” stuff to their products so you have to buy them to use it. It’s not worth it to me. I’d rather support open standards than a proprietary one (which is why I like gTalk so much because it utilizes Jabber/XMPP)

            And yes, I realize that Google collects my info, they are quite open about it. They don’t try and hide it from me or have ulterior motives. They use my data to pay for the services they provide me. Some of that data is used in ways that I actually use (Google Now, targeted ads, etc). Facebook on the other hand I’m not quite convinced that they are using my data to really help me in any way that really benefits me (except show it to other people).

            And it’s not that I hate FB, I just don’t trust them as much as I trust Google (which isn’t really as trusting as you might think). Facebook has made just enough “mistakes” in regards to privacy and data that it will take a while for me to start to really trust them again. I use Facebook (occasionally), and I don’t really plan on stopping but it doesn’t mean I want to give them that much data. It’s like you said, I get to decide how much data I give Facebook, and at this point, I don’t want to give them access to all my messages.

            I’d even love it of Google’s new messaging service could message people on Facebook for me (through some sort of API) or any other service. I don’t personally use Facebook messaging (that much, I do occasionally for those that contact me through it), but I could see how people would want that feature. Basically me just say “the best way to contact person X is through this service”, but I don’t see that happening.

  • s23

    Google, not Goolge Kellen

  • U Mad Bro? No But Your Mom Is

    I don’t know if I’m crazy about the name Hangout for this feature, but anything is better than Babel.

  • Masta Marc

    I wonder if it’ll be just an app like kik. Or will it take over as the message app and use your phone number. Like iMessage.

  • Definitely better than Babel. No need to hear religious crap every time somebody asks what it means.

    • EC8CH

      have you accepted the lord jesus christ as you savior?

  • Ray

    For me, living in Aus, I don’t care about Voice because it doesn’t work anyway.

    As for SMS – if it incorportates SMS, regardless of what this app will finally be called, it will be a killer.

    I can’t wait!

    • TylerChappell

      I’m sorry, but I totally read this as “living in Anus.” Someone please tell me I wasn’t the only one. D: I can’t wait either.

  • SkylaC90

    I actually like’d to think that the googlers releasing it with the name Babel to be brilliant, especially if it includes automatic translations to different languages depending on who you talk to. that would be great and when Gvoice finally gets integrated with it. this service will be a godsend. right now i’m crying using gvoice and missing out on the world. A necessary evil i’m afraid.

  • Dylan Patel

    #Bayble will never die.

  • zachwulf

    I really don’t like the name Hangout, although I don’t like Babel either. Why can’t it just be called Google Messenger, or Google Chat?

    • Exactly my point

      • michael arazan

        Google “Con Tower” ,like the place for navigation and communication on a submarine

    • Or just the plain old Google Talk (or gTalk)

    • Because from a branding perspective neither are purely Google nor very successful Google brands. Hangouts is by far the most recognizable Google communication product so it makes sense to consolidate under the strongest brand name.

      • CapnShiner

        Not if you include Gmail.

        • I highly doubt most mainstream people can name what the chat service in Gmail was called. On the other hand, the president has participated in more than one Hangout and many other people have done the same.

    • CapnShiner

      They already have the name Google Talk and I think that would work just fine for covering SMS, MMS, Voice, Google+, Hangouts, and everything else that is rumored to be consolidated into Babel or whatever it ends up being called.

  • Very cool. I love Android.

    • AbbyZFresh

      This is more than just android though. It’s in every OS and Chrome.

  • I’m really not even interested until Voice is integrated…

    • EC8CH

      or sms

      • ReturnOfTheMack


        • John Burke

          Both Voice & SMS or it’ll just be consolidating Apps I already almost never use

      • And MMS

        • this. I know people dismiss MMS, but with a group of friends who have iPhones and Android phones, it’s a total PITA for group messaging.

          My guess is that Google is probably one of the applicants for this – http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/fcc-get-feedback-giving-direct-numbers-voip-providers/2013-04-19

          assigning numbers directly to VoIP providers is a HUGE deal. No more carrier middleman BS.

          • I didnt know that was the case, that they had to use middlemen. It sounds like something that would have been created by a lobby to protect an outdated industry.

          • Bingo. Pretty much like all things telecom.

          • EraserXIV

            CM nightlies have group MMS enabled. Works like a charm with my friends who have iPhones.

  • Should be called Huddle.

  • tyguy829

    The location reminders have been rumored for a while since Ron from AP found some stuff in a teardown of the google app a month ago. http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/04/04/apk-teardown-google-search-2-4-time-and-location-based-reminders-plus-website-update-tracking-mysterious-help-cards-and-more/#reminders

  • EC8CH

    Hangout is a better name than Babel.

    It still can’t be used as a verb though…

    • I agree, and I think it’s a big shortcoming. Having a name that can be used as a verb is very important to something gaining popularity, I think. Think about “I googled it” or I facebooked him” or “we skyped last night”. Everyone I talk to says we should “skype” sometime, and I say no, we should “do a google hangout”. doesn’t roll off the tongue as easy and so it doesn’t catch on with the masses. and saying “we should hangout sometime” is too ambiguous.

      • Trueblue711

        It’s also fun being able to tell my friends to Kik me.

        • Now you can tell them to hang you.. :p

          • Ray

            Haha! I was thinking the same thing. 🙂

          • Oh look, someone downvoted a joke! smh..

          • Trueblue711

            Haha, good one!

      • Tim242

        We shouldn’t reward bad grammar.

    • Trueblue711

      They should just call it GChat. People already use that, and Google hangouts are just the G+ version of it anyway.

      • What’s Wrong with Good Name “Messenger” ,Google Messenger , it will reminnd the name Yahoo messenger 🙂

        • Tim242

          Too close to Blackberry Messenger. I’m sure they want it to be more than that, and not thought of as more of the same.

    • EC8CH

      They should call it Google “Bug”


      “I’ll bug ya later”
      “Look… he’s still buggin’ me, what a loser”
      “I bugged you 10 times, where are you”

      GIve it a cute little bug logo while you’re at it, and bug emoticons.

    • Tim242

      Well, text and message aren’t really verbs either. People use them incorrectly.

      • codemonkey85

        Same with Google for that matter.

        • sirmeili

          Or Facebook, or Skype. They were all things that at one point people most likely said “That is not a verb!” but it just caught on.

  • Damian

    Pretty interesting stuff, can’t wait!

  • JetBlue

    Also, A GMail video call has gone from “I’ve invited you to a hangout” to “I’ve invited you to a video call”. Happens when you when you send a Google Talk message to your conversation partner when you initiate a hangout from inside of Gmail.