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Google is working on a hardware product to rival Amazon’s Echo personal voice assistant. The device, codenamed Chirp, will resemble the company’s OnHub wireless router according to a new report from Re/code.
Sources say the device, which we first heard about earlier this year, won’t make an appearance at next week’s I/O developer conference, suggesting there still may be some unfinished work to complete. The goal, the publication says, is to launch the device by the end of the year.
Unlike Amazon, which had to develop its Alexa voice assistant specifically for the Echo, Google is already ahead of the curve as its Android platform has shipped with such capabilities for a while now. Moving its AI to the home, however, would be a first for the search giant.
The aforementioned OnHub router, which Google launched last summer, seemed like the perfect candidate for such functionality. The device already resembles Amazon’s Echo – adding a microphone and speaker couldn’t be all that difficult, one would think.
Echo has been a surprise hit for Amazon despite the potential privacy implications that come with inviting yet another always-listening device into users’ lives. It arrived in late 2014 and immediately found a following among techies. Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates Amazon has already sold three million units in the US (Amazon doesn’t release sales figures for its devices).
Google declined to comment on the matter.