echo

Not more than just a few weeks after hearing that it’s lingering trust issues at Google that have kept Alphabet’s Nest division from working on a competitor to Amazon’s Echo speaker, a new report (paywalled) from The Information has revealed that Google itself might be working on a competitor to the Echo. Wait, what?..

Nest revealed that it would soon work with Amazon’s Echo speaker last month, and a report from Re/code said that the Nest division — while it would surely love to — was not currently working on a competing product. Despite Tony Fadell’s attempts in the past to suggest that Nest and Google don’t share data, concerns that customers just wouldn’t trust the “Don’t be evil” company with an always-listening speaker in their home have held it back.

“At the end of the day, it’s Google,” one source supposedly familiar with the situation told Re/code earlier this month. “There are trust issues.”

So to “solve” this problem of trust, and apparently not to tarnish Nest’s still crystal clean image, Google itself is apparently working on the ultimate ad-selling always-listening spy machine (I’m kidding, I think?) for you to place in your living room. The “secret project,” according to the new report, is a “voice-controlled personal assistant device” and the Google executive in charge said “Nest would not be involved in its development”.

Details are light at the moment, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that maybe the same team that is working on other smarthome-like products like the OnHub are working on this product. Tony Fadell reportedly said that the OnHub was a “collaborative effort between the two companies,” using Nest’s Thread technology. The OnHub featured some of the same functionality that another Nest product, a yet-to-be-announced wireless hub codenamed Flintstone, was supposed to provide.

Recently, Amazon introduced two new devices in the Alexa-powered lineup. The Echo Dot is a smaller version of the original Echo. And the new Amazon Tap speaker, while it is an Alexa device, doesn’t have the tech on board to be considered part of the “Echo” brand. You can order the Dot for $89.99, and the Amazon Tap costs $129.99.

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