Though Siri and Google Now both technically came before Alexa, it’s safe to say Amazon caught its competitors and tech consumers at large off guard when unveiling the voice-controlled wireless speaker/home automation device Echo less than two years ago.

It of course took a little while for critics and prospective buyers to warm up to the inconspicuous but highly versatile and always flourishing cylinder, which ultimately managed to rack up an impressive 3 million unit shipments.

Slowly moving away from a niche it personally carved out towards the mainstream décor, the Alexa-powered Amazon Echo will inevitably spawn a series of copycats, almost certainly starting with a Google Home later today.

Previously known under the codename Project Chirp, this “virtual agent” should be capable of answering “simple questions” and carrying out “basic tasks”, according to “people who spoke on the condition of anonymity” with The New York Times.

The no doubt credible sources confirm what we suspected in terms of announcement and commercial release timelines, with a formal introduction likely going down at 10 am PDT in Mountain View, during Google’s highly anticipated I/O 2016 keynote also tipped to bring to light the Android VR platform, as well as more details on the Android N OS.

Unfortunately, it seems Google Home won’t be ready for primetime until fall, further widening the innovation gap between it and an Echo that’s picked up over 100 “skills” since its late 2014 debut. Then again, the search giant definitely has the software prowess and connections to third-party services to make a splash off the bat with robust support for apps like Play Music, YouTube, Spotify, Uber, Domino’s and many, many others.

Source: NY Times

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