Amazon has seen growing success with its AI assistant Alexa and the Echo smart speaker she powers, and now other tech companies are reportedly working on competing devices.
Recode reports that Google is working on “Chirp,” a portable speaker with a built-in voice-activated assistant. The move would seem to be an obvious step for Google, which already attempts to catch every digital trace we leave to better improve ads.
Of course, Google already has a voice assistant of its own, with users able to call it up with a simple “Okay Google.” However, the service is limited to phones and isn’t quite as conversational as Alexa is now. But Google could easily give it more of a personality (and maybe a better name) to bring it into the home.
The move also makes sense for Google parent Alphabet, which also owns smart home device maker Nest. While Nest thermostats already work with Alexa, Google and Nest could work on tighter integrations for new devices and add functionality to existing offerings.
However, it’ll be interesting to see if Google opens up its voice-activated offerings to outside developers in the same way Amazon has. Much of Alexa’s appeal comes from her ability to integrate with other services, an area that is rapidly growing.
Recode’s sources say the devices won’t launch during next week’s Google I/O conference, but we may see a demo then, along with Google’s next steps into VR.