Google reportedly building Amazon Echo competitor as industry eyes your home

With the next tech industry battleground being your home, Google has a "secret" project to build an Amazon Echo competitor, according to a new report.

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(Image: File photo)

Google wants to extend its services into your home, past the Nest, mobile phones, and tablets.

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The Information reports there is "secret Google project" to make a competitor to the Amazon Echo, a speaker/voice assistant that sits in your home and listens to commands.

The publication doesn't specifically mention features of the Amazon Echo-like device, as the anecdote was included in a story about Google's Nest division struggling to integrate within the company.

Knowing Google, a few assumptions can be made. The speaker will probably utilize Google Now, the company's voice assistant similar to Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. Google Now utilizes Google services to provide information to users, and it's likely Google's Echo competitor will have similar, deep Google integration.

Further, Google just renamed its Chromecast app to Google Cast, perhaps signaling a move for the app to beam music to more than just a Chrome cast dongle.

Home automation has become the next battleground for major tech companies, as they look past smartphones and tablets to capture sales. The major players are focusing in on the Internet of Things, a tagline given to technology embedded into everyday tools in the home, with smart locks, lightbulbs, thermostats, and power outlets being among the most popular products.

A 2015 State of the Smart Home report found that ease-of-use trumps technology and consumers want smart devices that automate themselves. Amazon is a good example, who uses its Echo product as an easy way to order products, make Internet searches, listen to music, and access just about any information needed.

Hopefully we'll hear more on Google's voice assistant plans at Google I/O in May or if this is a project still a ways off. It's not clear why Google isn't moving forward with new Nest products, however The Information report points out the division is struggling by losing employees from Nest's Dropcam acquisition.

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