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Google is reportedly building an Amazon Echo rival

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The project is revealed in a report on Nest's stalled innovation

Google executives have seen and heard all the positive buzz around Amazon's Echo speaker, and now the company is said to be preparing a similar product for the home. The Information is reporting on a "secret Google project to create a competitor to Amazon's echo," though the story offers no details on the product's features, nor potential pricing or any release timeframe. The nugget is part of a report that details a "stalled" and struggling Nest, the company that Google acquired in 2014.

According to The Information, Nest has requested to be part of the project, but was turned away by the Google team leading the effort. That's yet another frustration tacked onto a growing list; Nest's product portfolio has grown very slowly since the acquisition, and the report says Tony Fadell's oversight (and constant pressure to rework features and polish product designs) is a large reason why. The company has repeatedly pushed back plans to release a smart home hub codenamed Flintstone, as just one example.

The Echo, meanwhile, has been a big success for Amazon, earning strong reviews — particularly as the device continues to add new features and more advanced functionality through firmware. When Google unveiled its OnHub Wi-Fi router last year, many questioned why the product didn't include any type of voice-controlled assistant, which would've positioned it against the Echo. But despite that obvious miss, it appears Google is unwilling to cede this device category to Amazon and is working on something. When might we know more? Maybe at this year's I/O conference in May, if there's nothing sooner.


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