How many Google devices do you have in your home? We’re not talking about Android smartphones or tablets, either – primarily mobile devices. We mean things like a Chromecast, Android TV box, or maybe an OnHub router. Whatever the current number, do you have room for one more? We might have to start thinking about that question, as a new report claims that Google’s looking to create a physical embodiment of its voice-powered search and and personal assistant services, building a piece of hardware that would compete directly with Amazon’s Echo.
After all, the Amazon Echo has proven to be a bit of a surprise hit, with strong holiday-season sales and the recent launch of some pint-sized models offering similar feature sets. Google already has a robust voice-driven software package on Android mobile devices, so if there’s a demand out there for an in-home appliance that does the same sort of thing, why wouldn’t Google want to tap into that market?
The rumor stems from a story about Nest’s adjustments fitting in to the larger Google (or Alphabet, we suppose) family, and the resistance the Nest team saw when trying to work on a smart-home hub – because other departments at Google were already building just such a device.
Unfortunately, as this is more of an aside to a larger story, we don’t have a ton of details about Google’s effort. Would it end up being something that looks like Echo – so, kinda like the existing OnHub models? Would Google go for a smaller, less intrusive device? From release plans to pricing, we don’t have a lot of very pertinent details right now, but it sure makes for an interesting story, especially as IoT and connected-home products become more and more prevalent.
With a little luck, we just might hear something about Google’s plans at I/O in May.