Google already has serious search engine power and voice-recognition software. They love to integrate products, and they love to collect data. Thus, it is only fitting that they develop a challenger to the Echo, the voice-activated speaker/personal assistant distributed by Amazon. According to Recode, Google’s product (internally named “Chirp”) should be ready to release this calendar year.
Google is hosting a developer conference next week, and the main features of the Chirp product are expected to be a huge focus for the upcoming year: voice search and digital personal assistance. An excellent voice search is already a big selling point of Android phones, so it is natural that Google would incorporate that system into other products.
The Amazon Echo continues to gain momentum, as Amazon advertises and adds new features on a very regular basis. It is estimated to have sold around three million copies. It serves many purposes, but the two most common are to provide information and to play music from a variety of streaming services, such as Prime Music, Spotify, and Pandora. Amazon updates their product practically every week, and they are connecting more and more smart devices. In addition, the Echo collects data on users, including what they search for, products they buy, and what music they listen to. This analytical profile building is directly in line with Google’s business model.
On an interesting side note, Matt Novak of Gizmodo recently filed a Freedom of Information request with the FBI to see if they had ever wiretapped an Amazon Echo and listened in without the owner’s knowledge. The FBI responded that they “can neither confirm nor deny” that information, because doing so would possibly “disclose techniques, procedures, and/or guidelines” about how the FBI maintains surveillance. Break out the tinfoil hat, because of course that means they are listening to you at this very moment.
Although there are no specs or concrete information on Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo, expect some details to come out at their upcoming developer conference. It runs from May 18th through May 20th.
Interested in Google’s version of the Amazon Echo? Or do you not want the feds to know how many times you listen to Taylor Swift a day? Let us know.