Will Google’s smart home controller overtake Echo?
Since the Super Bowl, when Amazon ran a celebrity-packed commercial promoting the Amazon Echo, it has been clear the e-tailer is pushing its voice-automated personal assistant as the tool that every smart home needs. But the voice-activated smart home control center now has competition from another tech giant — and one of the few that has more data on its hands than Amazon.
Google has been working on a device, code-named Chirp, which will integrate voice assistant technology with Google search capabilities, according to an article on Recode. Sources indicate that the device is slated for release later this year.
The tech titan’s attempt to become a central part of a still-evolving smart home market raises the question: will one of these devices — Echo or Chirp — become the VHS of the fledgling smart home market and the other the Betamax?
Google will no doubt face concerns over both security and the use of data gathered in-home, as has Amazon.
The Chirp project is not Google’s first inroad into smart home technology. The company purchased smart home device manufacturer Nest Labs in 2014. In November, it released the Google Asus OnHub smart home router and has also been working on an Internet of Things operating system called Brillo.
But not all of Google’s early investments have paid off. BGR recently reported that Nest Labs is “in shambles” and that Google is unhappy with the lack of new hardware products from Nest.
Amazon, meanwhile, has been working to solidify its lead in the space with new devices. The company has implemented Alexa, the voice assistant that runs on Echo, on devices meant to fit in different places both inside and outside the home. Amazon’s Echo Dot is a shorter version of the tall cylindrical Echo that looks more suited to being a bedside alarm clock (a CNET article describes how to use it as such). The Amazon Tap is a small, portable Alexa-enabled speaker.
Reports over the past few months have placed Echo and its voice-activation technology at the forefront of the smart home market. In March, RetailWire reported that an Argus Insights study called Echo the most discussed smart home ecosystem, with Apple’s HomeKit coming in second.
- Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo is code-named ‘Chirp’ and is landing soon – Recode
- Even Google views its Nest acquisition as a disappointment – BGR
- Google OnHub FAQ – OnHub Central
- Turn your Amazon Echo Dot into the ultimate nightstand accessory – CNET
- Amazon takes the lead in smart home devices – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see Amazon devices pulling away from the pack to become the preferred control centers in the emerging smart home market? What will it take for Google or others to compete with Amazon in this space?