Google is said to be readying a standalone hardware device which will integrate the company’s voice assistant technology and its search services. The device is expected to go head-to-head with Amazon’s popular Echo.
A product team at Google is working on a hardware device that would integrate Google’s search and voice assistant technology, akin to the Amazon Echo, Recode has learned.
Google’s device will reportedly resemble its OnHub wireless router, say several of Recode’s sources. Internally, the project goes by “Chirp.”
Google refused to comment on the rumor. However, previous reports have indicated Google was indeed working on a competitor for Amazon’s Echo, a Bluetooth speaker with a virtual voice-controlled assistant (“Alexa”) built-in. Amazon has also added two more Alexa-enabled devices to their lineup, the portable Amazon Tap, and the smaller, Echo Dot.
Recode’s sources indicate the device is unlikely to launch at next week’s Google’s I/O developer conference, but Google may at least give a peek at “Chirp,” and its potential uses, as voice search and intelligent personal assistance will occupy center stage at the company’s splash show, along with virtual reality. The new device is expected to publicly debut sometime later this year.
Google already offers voice assistant tech, via it’s popular “Okay, Google” on Android phones. While the technology is considered an industry leader, capable of doing a number of helpful tasks, in many cases, even better than Apple’s own Siri personal assistant built into iOS devices. However, Google has yet to introduce their technology in the smart home market, which could be a huge growth market for the company and its competitors.
Google’s “Chirp” could prove to be a formidable competitor to Amazon’s popular Echo lineup, which one analyst estimated to have sold three million units in the time since it was introduced. The Echo collects valuable data from its customers, such as what they buy, what music they listen to, and other usage information. Collecting user information such as that is what Google was built upon.
Recode notes Nest, the connected device company acquired by Google, had considered building an Echo competitor, but there were concerns over how consumers would view a voice-controlled assistant from Google.