Google has many chat services and not all of them communicate with each other very well. It’s been rumored that Google has been planning a new communications product to help tear down the walls between all of the services. This product was first known as Babble, but many outlets now believe it will instead be known as Babel.

And now, thanks to a report from Tech Radar, we have our first images of Google’s Babel product on the Web.

The image above this post displays the emoji library that is built into the app. Much like you might find on a smartphone, there are several sections that house the chat images. The number of emoji looks like a big step up when compared to the available emoticons inside the current Google Chat (or Google Talk) product. It is perhaps a nod to the fact that users of Babel will want the mobile messaging experience even if they’re chatting from a desktop or laptop.

babel-2To the right, you can see some chat settings that will apparently be a part of Babel, as well as a photo sharing feature.

The chat settings look like standard fare. Chat notifications most likely refer to the pop-up windows that appear when you receive a message, similar to the functionality that Gmail’s chat application uses. And the “Save Chat History” option probably ties in with the chat history located in Gmail, as well. When Babel launches, you may be able to use Gmail’s search function to look for any of your typed-out correspondence — not just Google Talk.


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The screen grab on the right side of that image shows that a Google+ account will be required to send photos from the application. Right now, it mentions Google Talk instead of Babel, but that might be an attempt to keep the name of the project under wraps.

The name Babel is likely derived from the Hebrew name for the city of Babylon. What does that have to do with a unified chat application, you ask? To make a long story short, the Biblical tale of Babylon ends with an angel coming from heaven to force a bunch of different languages upon people who were communicating just fine before that. Another fun tidbit: the word Babel apparently translates to “confusing.”

Of course, the word “babble” means to “Talk rapidly and continuously in a foolish, excited, or incomprehensible way,” so maybe that wasn’t such a good pick, either.

Babel is expected to make an official appearance at Google’s I/O conference, which takes place May 15-17. We’ll undoubtedly have more on the product at that time, so stay tuned.


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