Google Chirp may look to take on Amazon's Echo

By Souvik Das | Updated 13 May 2016
Google Chirp may look to take on Amazon's Echo
  • Why keep voice assistants restricted to phones?

Google is reportedly working on a piece of hardware with integrated voice search and assistance services. Although there has been no confirmation by Google on the same, a report by Recode suggests that the product has been codenamed Chirp, and will be similar to Amazon Echo.

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The Amazon Echo was unveiled in November 2014, integrating its Alexa Voice Service to the portable speaker and allow it to play music, relay news, weather and sports scores upon voice command. Alexa is powered by Alexa Internet, Inc., Amazon’s web data and analysis branch that was acquired by the retail giant in 1999. The Amazon Echo now also has the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap as two other speakers with similar voice command integration within Amazon’s family. The devices respond to when called “Alexa”, although it can be changed to “Amazon” or “Echo”, based on what you would prefer to call it.

Google has integrated its voice navigation and assistance service on its Android devices, beckoned by the command, “OK, Google”. With the reportedly upcoming services, Google would be looking to integrate its voice-powered assistance service to home and IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The device, though, is not expected to be featured at the Google I/O developer conference commencing next week. The core technology may be showcased at the conference, and Google is expected to go big on voice-based artificially intelligent personal services and virtual reality this time.

The rise of voice-based artificially intelligent assistant services have been on a steady rise. Brought to wider notice in terms of essentiality by Siri, we have now moved on to the likes of Hound and the recently-demonstrated Viv. Created by Dag Kittlaus, Siri was one of the first digital assistants responding to voice inputs, sometimes with annoyingly entertaining answers. After almost a decade since creation, Kittlaus recently showed off Viv, a more intelligent distant relative of Siri’s that can take on far complex commands and calculations, along with third party integration with apps like Uber and other services.

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SoundHound also has a similar service, Hound, that had us all impressed with its excellent computational capabilities. While the AI-powered personal assistants have progressed miles in creating essential enhancements to lifestyle, they also work in gathering data of searches, lifestyles, purchases and other details of a steadily growing section of population, hence forming an essential cornerstone of data analysis and research.

Will Google’s Chirp become reality? While Google has remained tight-lipped so far, Amazon would have a fairly direct competitor to its Echo lineup with the device in sight. Estimates suggest that Amazon has so far sold three million devices till now, and Google may work in popularising the category further.

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Souvik Das
The one that switches between BMWs and Harbour Line Second Class.
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