Babylon is a computer dictionary and translation program, developed by Babylon Software Ltd., an Israeli public company (TASE: BBYL) based in Or Yehuda. The company was established in 1997 by the Israeli entrepreneur Amnon Ovadia. Its IPO took place ten years later. It is considered a part of Israel’s Download Valley, a cluster of software companies monetizing “free” software downloads through adware. Babylon includes in-house proprietary dictionaries, as well as community-created dictionaries and glossaries. It is a tool used for translation and conversion of currencies, measurements and time, and for obtaining other contextual information. The program also uses a text-to-speech agent, so users hear the proper pronunciation of words and text. Babylon has developed 36 English-based proprietary dictionaries in 21 languages. In 2008–2009, Babylon reported earnings of 50 million NIS through its collaboration with Google.
Babylon attempts to hijack the user’s system by adding the Babylon Toolbar, which has been widely identified as a browser hijacker. The toolbar also comes bundled as an add-on with other software downloads. It changes browser preferences such as the user’s home page and search engine, changes that can be very difficult to reverse.