Google building tower of Babel to meld messaging tools

As Google’s I/O developer event approaches, details about a new unified messaging service linking all of Google’s platforms have been emerging through internal developer conversations, brief glimpses behind the curtain provided by error messages, and flat-out leaks. The new service, called Babel, will tie together Google Talk, Hangout, Google Plus’ Messenger, and other disparate communications tools within Google services spanning its Web and mobile applications, allowing them to be accessed from multiple locations and stored in users’ Gmail inbox—at least based on the clues uncovered thus far.

Geek.com first published information about the service in March, calling it “Babble.” It has been discussed in developer forums, including the ChromeOS “Chromium-bugs” discussion group. And the UK tech website Techradar released screenshots of Babel allegedly supplied by a Google employee. The screenshots include a host of graphic emoticons available in chat. An alert message revealed by one Google Plus user also showed that Babel has already infiltrated the services of at least a few users.

Aside from universal access to messages across apps, the Babel infrastructure apparently includes a new conversation-based interface for Google’s various chat tools and the ability to embed pictures in chat. It will also improve notifications across ChromeOS, Android, and iOS applications. It’s not yet clear how the service would integrate into Google Voice.


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