Google working on Chirp device to take on success of Amazon Echo

12 May 2016

The Amazon Echo has proved to be an unlikely hit in homes as a personal assistant and now Google, not wanting to be left behind, is reportedly working on its own device, codenamed Chirp.

Despite looking like a regular tubular speaker, the Amazon Echo has quickly established itself as one of the leading home internet of things (IoT) devices on the market, allowing you to order your shopping just by speaking to it, or add stuff to your calendar on the fly.

On Black Friday 2015, the device flew off the digital shelves, becoming the top-selling higher-end item on Amazon and today its services are constantly expanding, despite fears over whether it’s become the least-subtle wiretapping device in history.

Now, never wanting to be left behind on ways to harvest huge amounts of data from customers, it has been revealed by sources from within Google that the company is working on a similar personal assistant device.

Details by end of the year

Codenamed Chirp, the device is expected to follow a design similar to its tubular router, OnHub, which it launched last year, and will likely feature its Google Now personal assistant, as well as it being a portable speaker.

It should prove relatively easy for Google to quickly develop such a device seeing as Google Now, currently being used on mobile devices, is way ahead of its peers in terms of its ability to understand commands and actually act on them.

As for when we’re expected to get an official comment from Google, the odds are that we won’t be hearing anything from its I/O developer conference to be held next week, but, in all likelihood, we should hear something at least before the year is out.

Of slight concern to Google should be the fact that Amazon appears to be cornering the IoT personal assistant market in the same way Google has with streaming and its Chromecast device.

In March of this year, Amazon revealed that it was to release a downscaled version of the Echo called the Echo Dot that could retrofit into existing speakers allowing the same functionality.

The Amazon Echo image via George W Bailey/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic