Google at work on Amazon Echo-like voice device codenamed 'Chirp'

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in General Discussion
A special Google team is reportedly developing a device that would integrate its search and voice assistant technology, much like the Amazon Echo.

An OnHub router made by TP-LINK.
An OnHub router made by TP-LINK.


Physically the product should resemble the company's OnHub Wi-Fi routers, sources told Re/code. The project is said to be codenamed "Chirp," although it's not known if a shipping name has been assigned.

The device isn't expected to launch during next week's Google I/O developer conference, but should arrive later this year. No other details have been leaked.

On a business level, the product is speculated to be a way for Google to further extend search, and by extension how it gathers demographic data for its core advertising business. Amazon is also estimated to have sold some 3 million Echos, which could make Google's entry more directly profitable.

The Echo line revolves around Amazon's "Alexa" voice assistant, which handles tasks like search, music playback, product/service orders, and smarthome functions. Google's device would presumably handle similar tasks, with the benefit of the company's more established voice and search technology. Alexa is a relatively new creation, and uses Microsoft's less popular Bing service for search.

Apple, of course, offers its own Siri voice-based personal assistant. And while newer devices offer handsfree "Hey Siri" support without the need for external power, Apple does not offer a standalone, always-listening piece of hardware to compete with the likes of Amazon's Echo.
Ekpo84
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    irelandireland Posts: 17,584member
    These devices are handy, but who doesn't have their smartphone with them? What do I know.
    cornchip
  • Reply 2 of 36
    redstaterredstater Posts: 49member
    Google fans have wanted their own Alexa for quite some time. While there is nothing wrong with this per se as it is relatively easy to do - just stick Google Now Voice on the firmware - my question is "why?" They are really going to compete with the 3 million Echo units that Amazon has pushed in nearly 2 years? They should be more concerned with making sure that Samsung and Facebook don't push them out of VR, as their Gear VR product is far superior to Google Cardboard: http://www.engadget.com/2016/05/11/million-gear-vr-users/ They should also try to rework their failed Android TV platform, as no manufacturers but Asus (for the original Nexus Player), Nvidia and Razer have come out with their own models, and the two biggest smart TV manufacturers - Samsung and LG - shunned it in favor of their own Tizen and WebOS, and the other manufacturers like Sony limited the platform to their most expensive TVs, leaving Google to try to partner with another company for Chromecast type functionality only for cheap TVs. Maybe coming out with a line of $35 dongles similar to the Fire TV stick and then practically giving the things away with a purchase of a new smartphone would actually work. Or perhaps their new hardware division should just manufacture their own TVs. Giving Android Wear - which has still yet to reach the 5 million in sales mark in nearly 2 years - yet another makeover that will allow the devices to be made a lot more cheaply and then practically given away with each smartphone should be done also. Another thing: why not just alter the Google Now API so you will be able to send voice commands over Chromecast and Chromecast Audio? Instead of selling a few speakers with Google Now enabled, use the Google Now that is already on 1 billion Android devices - and not a few iOS devices - to send search commands to the tens of millions of Chromecast and Google Cast Receiver-enabled devices that are in the wild. Why on earth would a software company emulate a poorly-selling hardware device when they can come up with a software solution that incorporates hardware that far more people already have? Eh. But that is Google for you ... so few of their ideas actually work.
    gatorguypatchythepirate
  • Reply 3 of 36
    dick applebaumdick applebaum Posts: 12,507member

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    patchythepiratecalicornchiplostkiwibaconstangration al
  • Reply 4 of 36
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,260member
    I have practically every Apple device known to man in my house or on my person. What if they all could be invoked, Echo-style, at any time? Chances are one or more of them would always be in earshot, so no worries about not being in the "right" room or having to buy multiple Echo devices. How far could Apple be from accessing this functionality? Obviously on an opt-in basis. 
    patchythepiratecornchiplostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,087member
    ireland said:
    These devices are handy, but who doesn't have their smartphone with them? What do I know.
    According to every secondhand report on the Amazon Echo I've seen, Amazon has done a stellar job, plus it cuts out Google from the search process. Google has little choice but to try to recapture some of that lost audience.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 36
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,087member

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    You'd be surprised how many people are willing to allow Amazon's Echo to listen 24/7 inside their houses.
    cornchiplostkiwi
  • Reply 7 of 36
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Who doesn't want Google recording and listening to everything in your home. Oh wait, everyone. 
    calicornchip
  • Reply 8 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,580member

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    Until you use the keyword "Alexa" the Echo isn't recording a darn thing. Same with Google Now and "OK Google" and Siri with "Hey Siri". You almost certainly knew that tho as you're pretty up-to-date with most things. I'll assume you were just having a bit of fun rather than FUD'ing, eh? Just making sure casual readers didn't mistake the comment for a serious one. 
    edited May 2016 tdknoxsingularitypatchythepiratecnocbui
  • Reply 9 of 36
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,758member
    ireland said:
    These devices are handy, but who doesn't have their smartphone with them? What do I know.
    Amazon tried to make a smartphone first. This is Plan B.
    cornchiplostkiwibaconstang
  • Reply 10 of 36
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,758member
    gatorguy said:

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    Until you use the keyword "Alexa" the Echo isn't recording a darn thing. Same with Google Now and "OK Google" and Siri with "Hey Siri". You almost certainly knew that tho as you're pretty up-to-date with most things. I'll assume you were just having a bit of fun rather than FUD'ing, eh? Just making sure casual readers didn't mistake the comment for a serious one. 
    He may be sarcastic, but vigilance is not FUD:
    http://www.cnet.com/news/samsungs-warning-our-smart-tvs-record-your-living-room-chatter/

    calicornchipbaconstang
  • Reply 11 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,580member
    gatorguy said:

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    Until you use the keyword "Alexa" the Echo isn't recording a darn thing. Same with Google Now and "OK Google" and Siri with "Hey Siri". You almost certainly knew that tho as you're pretty up-to-date with most things. I'll assume you were just having a bit of fun rather than FUD'ing, eh? Just making sure casual readers didn't mistake the comment for a serious one. 
    He may be sarcastic, but vigilance is not FUD:
    http://www.cnet.com/news/samsungs-warning-our-smart-tvs-record-your-living-room-chatter/

    Yeah I remember that one. I'm glad there's always folks with the talent to discover stuff going on behind the scenes. Vigilance is good. 
    ration al
  • Reply 12 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    gatorguy said:

    Until you use the keyword "Alexa" the Echo isn't recording a darn thing. Same with Google Now and "OK Google" ...
    How can you be sure?

    Launch Google app and set your phone next to the TV. Switch the channel to a Spanish language station and leave it on all night. Then see if you start getting ads in Spanish the next day. I haven't tried this yet but someone suggested it to me.
    cornchiplostkiwiration al
  • Reply 13 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,580member
    volcan said:
    gatorguy said:

    Until you use the keyword "Alexa" the Echo isn't recording a darn thing. Same with Google Now and "OK Google" ...
    How can you be sure?

    Launch Google app and set your phone next to the TV. Switch the channel to a Spanish language station and leave it on all night. Then see if you start getting ads in Spanish the next day. I haven't tried this yet but someone suggested it to me.
    Since all Siri voice actions are sent to Apple for processing rather than handled locally if you do the same with your new iPhone will Siri start responding in Spanish? You should try it and let us know. 
    edited May 2016 cnocbui
  • Reply 14 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    gatorguy said:
    Since all Siri voice actions are sent to Apple for processing rather than handled locally if you do the same with your new iPhone will Siri start responding in Spanish? You should try it and let us know. 
    Can't happen because Siri only understands the language that is selected in the settings. I live in LA where many locations are Spanish names and she has no clue what I'm talking about when I speak Spanish to her.
    edited May 2016 lostkiwi
  • Reply 15 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,580member
    volcan said:
    gatorguy said:
    Since all Siri voice actions are sent to Apple for processing rather than handled locally if you do the same with your new iPhone will Siri start responding in Spanish? You should try it and let us know. 
    Can't happen because Siri only understands the language that is selected in the settings.
    OH. So you can be sure it's not listening then. Gotcha. Well good to know Google users must be safe too since language is selected in settings too. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 16 of 36
    tdknoxtdknox Posts: 64member

    Yeah ...

    We really want Google (or Amazon, for that matter) listening to everything going on around us ... /s


    You'd be surprised how many people are willing to allow Amazon's Echo to listen 24/7 inside their houses.
    3 million? FTFA "Amazon is also estimated to have sold some 3 million Echos" :smile: 
    SpamSandwichlostkiwi
  • Reply 17 of 36
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,580member
    volcan said:
    gatorguy said:
    Since all Siri voice actions are sent to Apple for processing rather than handled locally if you do the same with your new iPhone will Siri start responding in Spanish? You should try it and let us know. 
    I live in LA where many locations are Spanish names and she has no clue what I'm talking about when I speak Spanish to her.
    Siri doesn't understand Spanish street or place names? Really? Seems navigation would be less than helpful in the West and Southwest states if that's true. I can't imagine it is. 
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 18 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    gatorguy said:
    Well good to know Google users must be safe too since language is selected in settings too. 
    Not true. Google app will actually translate whatever language is spoken to it into whatever language you have set. I've tried it with Spanish and Philippino so far.
    cornchiplostkiwi
  • Reply 19 of 36
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,787member
    gatorguy said:
    volcan said:
    I live in LA where many locations are Spanish names and she has no clue what I'm talking about when I speak Spanish to her.
    Siri doesn't understand Spanish street or place names? Really? Seems navigation would be less than helpful in the West and Southwest states if that's true. I can't imagine it is. 
    She can read the street names in the Maps app but she can't pronounce them properly which I suppose is why she can't understand them either unless you switch your language to Spanish and then she speaks and listens perfectly.
    edited May 2016
  • Reply 20 of 36
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,562member

    I trust Apple a lot, trust Amazon a little less, do not trust Google at all, they do no have a very good track record or respecting people privacy so why would anyone allow Google to listen in on your house. People have to realize the only way the device works it is listening all the time, It looking for certain words, but to find those word it has to process all the words being said.

    I was reminded in a meeting yesterday why I do not trust google. A co-work was at home on their personal computer doing some research on a topic which they did not wish to share with people at work, but Google did not care when it through up ads specific to that topic while the person had their work computer connect to a projector and they open a website to share with the group and it had all sorts of ads about the topic. Needless to say the person was a bit embarrassed.  Yeah that is respecting people privacy.

    patchythepiratecalicornchiplostkiwiration al
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