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article imageGoogle is building an Amazon Echo rival called 'Chirp'

By James Walker     May 12, 2016 in Technology
Google is building a new consumer hardware device to rival Amazon's Echo, according to reports. The product will be an always-on voice controlled digital assistant, powered by Google Now. Amazon has seen a sales success with the Echo.
The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that includes a built-in digital assistant, Alexa. You can talk to Alexa in natural language to schedule reminders, get the latest news, play music and much more. The voice controlled device has proved to be a hit and is regularly one of Amazon's most popular products.
Google is now developing its own version, Recode has learned. The site spoke with "several sources" that disclosed details of the project, currently codenamed "Chirp." Like Amazon, Google is planning to put its voice recognition and digital assistant technology inside a home-oriented smart speaker, letting users interact with Google Now anywhere in their house.
The device is said to resemble Google's OnHub intelligent Wi-Fi router. That device uses a sleek cylindrical design that is unobtrusive and ideal for positioning anywhere in the home. It is also similar to the shape of the Amazon Echo.
Chirp will be powered by Google's existing voice recognition technology, the praised Google Now. Google Now has been present on smartphones for years, capable of fulfilling a wide range of commands, search-related queries and scheduling tasks.
The assistant can be activated with the "OK Google" voice command. Chirp will allow you to say "OK Google" in your home without having to pick up their phone. The speaker will be constantly listening for the trigger, ready to respond when you say a command.
Chirp would allow Google to enter the consumer Internet of Things in a more noticeable manner than it has so far. Its only real presence currently is through its subsidiary Nest, bought in 2014 for $3.2 billion and now classed as underperforming financially.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that Nest had considered building its own rival to Amazon's Echo. The project, developed by senior executives at the company, was ultimately shelved out of concern consumers would be concerned about privacy and Google's use of their data. One person "familiar" with the plans told Recode in March there were "trust issues" associated with an always-on digital assistant being linked to Google.
There's no indication yet on how Google is planning to tackle this issue with Chirp. The device is reportedly still in development and is unlikely to make a public appearance for some time. The company has its annual I/O developers conference scheduled for next week but Chirp does not seem to be developed far enough for it to make an appearance.
If the report proves correct, Amazon's Echo may soon have a serious rival. Google Now has been established for a lot longer than Alexa and can tap directly into the power of Google search. Chirp could pose a credible threat to Echo, as long as consumers accept it.
More about Google, google chirp, Alexa, Amazon, amazon echo
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