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Google Babel for Gmail screenshots leak out

Google has reportedly been working on a new chat service dubbed “Babel” for some time, and now we’re beginning to get a clearer picture of exactly what Babel is. TechRadar managed to score pictures of Babel from a tipster, which show a revamped version of Gmail Chat with new functionality and a tweaked design. The Babel name seems all but confirmed too thanks to element cues.

Babel looks to be using a threaded messaging approach like so many other messaging apps as opposed to the pure text layout that Gmail Chat uses. Avatars are also going to be thrown into the mix – the experience really doesn’t look too far removed from what’s currently used for Android’s stock Messaging app.

Chatterboxes will also be able to transfer photos to one another, but it looks like eager sharers will need to link their Google+ accounts to Babel to enable the functionality. The screenshots also show a completely revamped emoticon system, with a cleaner layout and much larger selection. There’s no word on when Google plans to roll out the new changes, but it’s not hard to see an announcement at Google I/O considering the event is just around the corner.

We’re expecting to see some other changes at the event as well, including the Play Store redesign for Android. That would bring the marketplace in line with the Holo design guidelines for Android and offer a generally easier to navigate experience. Not only that, but we could also be seeing an updated Nexus 7 at the event on May 15th. Reports have recently indicated that Google and ASUS are looking to use a Qualcomm processor in the refreshed tablet, along with a higher resolution screen and a thinner bezel design.

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