Sunday, May 5, 2013

Google Babel Will Launch As Google “Hangouts”

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.

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