Google reportedly has a secret project up its sleeve, and it may be awfully similar to the Amazon Echo.
According to various media outlets, lingering “trust issues” between Google and Alphabet’s Nest division have prevented Nest from making progress on creating an Amazon Echo competitor, but Google itself may be pursuing the project now.
While the original source of the story, The Information, doesn’t provide any specific details about the new “voice-controlled personal assistant device,” it did note that “Nest would not be involved in its development,” 9to5Google reported on Thursday (March 24).
In the meantime, Amazon is focused on making the Echo’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa, a little more developer-friendly.
Just this week, the eCommerce giant rolled out an improvement to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to include new features for the technology, including the ability to tailor Alexa’s volume, how it plays back media, set timers, etc.
The updates to improve the device’s AVS are just the latest changes that Amazon’s Alexa has seen.
Earlier this month, Amazon released two new models in the newly constituted line of Echo products — the Amazon Tap and the Echo Dot. Like the original Echo before them, both devices revolve around seamless user interaction with the growing ecosystem of Amazon apps and streaming platforms, though with distinct differences.
The Tap, for instance, runs off of an internal battery, unlike the Echo, and can be taken on the road, while the Echo Dot is more of a bridge device that allows users to turn any Bluetooth speaker into a voice-controlled gateway into Amazon’s world of Web services.
As a surprise back to its customers, Amazon is selling the Echo Dot in something of a limited release. While the Tap is immediately available to all, the Echo Dot is currently only open to Amazon Prime members who already own an Echo or Fire TV. Even then, customers can’t just stroll to Amazon’s website to make their purchases; they’ll have to actually tell their Echo or Fire TV, “Alexa, order an Echo Dot,” before one will arrive at their door.