Rumors continue to swirl that Google is developing “Chirp,” a rival to the Amazon Echo smart home device.
The latest reports would have us believe that Google is working on a competitor to the Amazon Echo, which is codenamed “Chirp” at this stage. According to sources cited by Recode the new Google smart home device will look similar to the OnHub wireless router.
Google Chirp to face off against Amazon Echo
The cylindrical router is developed by Google in conjunction with third-party partners. People familiar with Google’s plans say that the “Chirp” concept does not yet have an official name.
Amazon developed the Echo smart home device to provide a variety of services for users. It can play music, take vocal commands and play apps.
The $180 device controls smart home technology, including the Nest smart thermostat from Google, and can even call you an Uber. Its commands make use of Alexa, the cloud.based personal virtual assistant from Amazon.
Google making moves in smart home market
The company also released two newer devices called the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap at lower price points, and the Echo remains popular. In fact it is out of stock until June 2, and its success may have inspired Google to develop a similar product.
There have been plenty of rumors about a similar device, including a report in March. That previous piece cited its own sources who said that Google was working on the project in secret.
As with many rumors there were very few details provided. However the report did specify that Nest was not involved in the project. Google acquired the smart home device maker for $3.2 billion in order to improve its reputation in the sector.
In this latest report the sources cited by Recode do not reveal when Chirp would launch. However they did suggest that the device would probably support the Google search platform, meaning that users could issue voice commands for the device to search the internet for the information they need.
I/O developer conference to take place next week
It also seems likely that Chirp will support Google Now, allowing users to interact with the personal assistant and add appointments to their calendar among other features. We may be about to learn more about the new product as soon as next week.
The company is due to hold a keynote address at the Google I/O developers conference, which would seem like the perfect opportunity to unveil the Chirp. Voice search and intelligent personal assistance will play a significant role in the conference, as well as virtual reality.
However the sources cited by Recode do not believe that the device is ready for a public unveiling, although the company does hope to ship it before 2016 is out. Google has a strong record when it comes to voice assistant tech, and Chirp could prove to be a serious rival to the Amazon Echo.
Google’s Android phones have had voice assistant features for a long time, and many industry figures believe that it is better than rival services from other tech companies. While mobile users have been able to use Google’s expertise for a while, the company is yet to bring the feature into the smart home.
Tech companies are convinced that the smart home will provide significant growth opportunities, and Google is no different. The company’s OnHub router does not have voice recognition capabilities, but the area is increasingly important.
It would come as no surprise to see Google release a smart home device like the rumored Chirp.