In the world of IoT and smart home products, one of the most notable is arguably the Amazon Echo which is driven by the Alexa voice software, is compatible with plenty of other smart home devices and has a growing list of functionality like ordering pizza and requesting rides from Uber, in addition to turning down the temperature and turning on or off the lights in the home, among many other things. While there have been previous rumors that Google may have been looking into producing a device to compete with the Echo, a new rumor states that Google is currently working on this product, with a planned launch date set for sometime in 2016 and a potential to see a glimpse of it and what it has the capability to do at the Google I/O conference next week.
Google is said to be referring to this product as "Chirp" internally, and it will likely be driven by Google's A.I. engine that is also powering Google's Voice software which is integrated into products like Google Now. The device will look similar to the OnHub wireless router that they released last year according to sources familiar with the matter, so users can expect a cylindrical speaker device that will also look similar to the Echo, which would make it similar to the Amazon product in more than just functionality.
Google has not confirmed these rumors as of yet, and there is currently no rumored price point set for such a product, but to keep things competitive Google would have to launch it with a cost that is around the same price as the Amazon Echo if it wants to capture the attention of consumers who can already purchase Amazon's products instead of waiting. Recently, Google began feeding its A.I. engine thousands of romance novels to help it learn to be more conversational, and this would likely help "Chirp" to feel more natural to the user as if they were talking to someone in the home. When and if Google launches Chirp, it's unclear what it will be able to interact with, but it should be able to complete most of the tasks that one can already do with Google Now, and it would likely be compatible with devices such as Nest's smart thermostat as Nest is an Alphabet-owned company alongside Google.