It'll happen this year.
Another day, another report that Google plans to take on Amazon’s popular Echo smart home device.
Google GOOGL is currently working on a project, codenamed “Chirp,” which will eventually deliver an Amazon Echo competitor, Recode is reporting, citing people familiar with its plans. The sources say the device will look similar to the cylindrical OnHub wireless router Google develops with its third-party partners, but its official name hasn’t yet been decided.
Amazon Echo is a smart home device designed to provide a wide range of services, including the ability to playback music, listen to vocal commands, and play apps. The device, which can control smart home products, like Google’s Nest smart thermostat, as well as call cars from Uber, costs $180. It’s flanked by two newer (and cheaper) devices, known as the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap. The Echo’s virtual commands are powered by Amazon’s Alexa cloud-based personal virtual assistant.
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Perhaps most importantly to Amazon AMZN , the Echo has proven quite popular. As of this writing, the device is out of stock until June 2. It’s possible that Google has seen that success and decided to follow Amazon’s lead.
The Recode report is by no means the first time there have been rumblings of a possible Echo competitor coming from Google. In March, for instance, The Information cited its own sources who said that Google was secretly working on an Echo competitor. While that report didn’t include details on the product, it did say that Nest, the company Google bought for $3.2 billion in order to boost its smart home credibility, was not involved in the project.
While Recode’s sources didn’t know exactly when Chrip would launch, they claimed that the device would likely come with support for Google’s search platform, allowing users to vocally ask the device to search the Internet for information. In addition, it’s likely to come with Google Now support, allowing users to employ the company’s virtual personal assistant for a wide range of features, including adding appointments to a calendar, and more.
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Of course, next week would seem like the best time for Google to unveil the new device as the company is set to hold a keynote address at its Google I/O developers conference. However, Recode’s sources have thrown water on that idea, saying that the device isn’t yet ready to be unveiled. Google is hoping, however, that it will find its way to store shelves sometime this year.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.