According to new reports, Google is working on its own personal assistant hub to take on Amazon's Echo.
Nest Labs, which Google acquired back in 2014, wanted to work on the Echo competitor. But according to sources from The Information, tensions between Nest and Google made Google decide to use its own team for the project. These tensions may be related to Nest's recent exodus of staffers and lack of new products. Since its acquisition, Nest has created the Nest Thermostat, the Nest Protect smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector, and the Nest Cam. However, other projects have been pushed back, including a smart home hub codenamed Flinstone.
Google's Echo competitor could potentially include the power of the Google Search engine. Google's work on voice commands for Google Now on Android surpasses Siri and Cortana for features and intelligence, and soon will get a less robotic voice. This week, Android users have started reporting that the virtual assistant has been responding with a slightly different female voice, sounding more fluid and human-like. It appears that Google silently rolled out some changes to the English (US) voice, and it is unclear if other languages will follow suit. Meanwhile, LG released its Echo rival last December, calling the SmartThinQ hub a "gateway" to your automated home. LG's offering can connect to smart and conventional appliances using WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, or the SmartThinQ sensor. The sensor allows conventional appliances to become "smart-aware." More information on Google's potential Echo competitor could be revealed at Google's I/O conference in May, if not sooner.
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