Amazon has struck a chord with its Echo speaker. First released back in November 2014 (initially as an exclusive for Amazon Prime members), the wireless speaker doubles as a voice-controlled digital assistant providing frequently-requested information regarding traffic, weather and even sports scores. Later updates added home automaton functionality to the device.
Now we’re learning that Google has had enough of sitting on the sidelines while the Echo grabs the spotlight as a home automation hub. Heck, the Echo will now allow users to bark voice commands at their Nest Thermostats (a Google-backed device) to change the temperature in their homes.
So what is Google going to do? According to a fresh report, the company is working on its own Echo competitor. The “Google Recognition Device” that will mimic the capabilities of the Echo. As you already know, Google clearly has the voice recognition/search experience to make such a product possible, and the company is no stranger to marketing its own hardware.
In fact, we were alerted to such a possibility way back in early March by Android Police writer Artem Russakovskii, who wrote, “I've been told there's an Alexa competitor Google is building, codenamed Chirp. Let's see if they announce it at I/O maybe?”
We’ve also learned that Nest, which has been relatively quiet since its acquisition of Dropcam, has dispatched half of the 100 employees that came along with the purchase. Tony Fadell explained the “exodus” by stating, “A lot of the employees were not as good as we hoped.”
But with the [hopefully competent] employees that it still has left, Nest is supposedly working on a cloud-connected security system that would consist of a central hub that would communicate with door and window sensors. Google is reportedly pressuring Nest to release the security system by the fall in efforts to bring some excitement to a product lineup that now consists of a thermostat, smoke detector and security cameras.