It probably won’t come as any great surprise to learn that Alphabet-owned Google is continuously working on internal projects of both the hardware and software variety. Like most companies of this size that invest heavily in research and development, a lot of those products and ideas won’t ever make it to market or come to fruition, whereas others are given the green light to make it onto our physical and digital shelves. A resurfaced rumor has once again ignited the conversation around internal Google plans to go to market with a product named internally as ‘Chirp’, designed and engineered to rival the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap.
Sources familiar with Google’s internal plans, which incidentally have been thrust into the public domain, claim that the secretive project will offer similar functionality to Amazon’s Echo always-on hardware, which has been growing in popularity recently thanks to a host of new integrations that extend its feature set.
From a design and physical overview, the same sources claim that the hardware will be designed to look similar to the company’s cylindrical OnHub wireless routers that are developed in conjunction with an array of third-party partner companies. If accurate, that design stance will definitely appeal to some, and not so much to others.
In its current form, the internal project is being referred to as ‘Chirp’, but there’s definitely no actual product name been set in stone at the time of writing. That means if Google does choose to go to market with this offering then we would likely be referring to it by an entirely different name. Unfortunately, this is where the details start to dry off a little bit and become sketchy.
In terms of embedded functionality and an overall feature set, very little seems to be known about the product. Given the current power that the Amazon ships with thanks to the Alexa virtual assistant, it’s highly likely that any Google product would offer the same level of power, and probably more so, given the extent of its reach with the “OK Google” string as it is from Google Now.
The Amazon Echo team has recently announced an additional integration partnership with travel search engine KAYAK, bringing real-time flight and hotel search functionality to any Amazon product with Alexa at its core. Google is definitely playing catchup in this particular market space, but you can’t help but feel that when, or if, a product does arrive, it will definitely make a splash.
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