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posted by Fnord666 on Saturday September 30 2017, @02:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the new-manhattan-project dept.

Google's 'Manhattan project': Home device with a screen to compete with Echo Show

Google generally doesn't do as well when it builds "follower" products — think Google Plus or Allo. But there are other examples where Google has excelled with later entries (e.g., AdWords, Maps). Right now, Google Home is a follower product seeking to break out of Amazon Echo's shadow.

[...] Amazon now has two devices with screens: Echo Show and the new Echo Spot. According to TechCrunch, Google is also working on a Home device with a touchscreen:

Two sources confirm to TechCrunch that the Google device has been internally codenamed "Manhattan" and will have a similar screen size to the 7-inch Echo Show. One source received info directly from a Google employee. Both sources say the device will offer YouTube, Google Assistant, Google Photos and video calling. It will also act as a smart hub that can control Nest and other smart home devices.

Previously: Google Pulls YouTube off of the Amazon Echo Show


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by fyngyrz on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:03PM (4 children)

    by fyngyrz (6567) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:03PM (#575291) Homepage Journal

    I'm interested in a home device that has local STT (speech-to-text, which is what feeds everything else.) I don't want it going out on the net unless it has to go out on the net to do whatever it was asked to do.

    My ten-year-old GPS in my car has local speech recognition. It's not great, but it works. Tech has advanced since then. So it can be done.

    The best hope for this at present is Mycroft [github.com], not because it has local STT now, but because it is open. They've finally begun shipping, too.

    (The actual Mycroft device site [mycroft.ai] appears to be down right now... hmmm. That's not good.)

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:39PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:39PM (#575296) Journal

      So you want to get the text of what you are saying and send it to Google or a privacy-oriented search engine instead of sending voice snippets to Google/Amazon, right (assuming that the query can't be handled locally)?

      (The actual Mycroft device site [mycroft.ai] appears to be down right now... hmmm. That's not good.)

      Cloudflare is going to make DDOS extinct! [vice.com] Submit to Cloudflare!

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      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by fyngyrz on Saturday September 30 2017, @06:37PM (1 child)

        by fyngyrz (6567) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2017, @06:37PM (#575334) Homepage Journal

        So you want to get the text of what you are saying and send it to Google or a privacy-oriented search engine instead of sending voice snippets to Google/Amazon, right

        No. My life is not spent on search engines. I want to send everything I possibly can - which is most everything, possibly even everything - to a local machine of mine. In fact, the primary reason I would send it to a machine outside my network is if that machine was also in my service - how's my website X doing, for instance. And in such an interaction, I'd be in control both of what was sent, and to whom it was sent, and on the return leg, how the reply was handled.

        There's no reason for home control or time or timers or or alarms or music or environmental or security queries to be sent outside the home, other than the fact that Google and Amazon are trying their best to monetize those things and STT is (presently) difficult. Right now, if any part of the intervening connections are down, I can't even turn off a light or set my thermostat using the Echo, nor do I have any sense of how my interactions are being treated by these voracious big-data Goliaths. That's not acceptable to me except as an interim circumstance.

        Eventually, a STT device will come about that doesn't need a WAN connection to understand speech. When that happens, the automated home can become a much more secure and friendly place, given a little careful management.

        99% of the home management / convenience interactions that go to Google/Amazon don't actually need to go there. If you want to do that, of course that's fine - but I don't. I don't want a third party in charge of where my interactions go. That's the problem with the current systems. And your implication that things will go there anyway is a matter of how one chooses to use such a system - it's not a given.

        There's a huge potential for local apps that service a STT/TTS device on user's machines. You want to know who was the US president in 1943? Should be an app for that - rather than a WAN inquiry. etc. It's not like storage is expensive, and it's not like developers wouldn't be willing to produce such things.

        Yes, things have gone very far into the "cloud required" space. No, it doesn't have to be that way, and no, it's not good if ti stays that way.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:02AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @01:02AM (#575434)

          right on. i thought it was amazing the guy thought you were going to send it to google, or as an alternative, send it to google or something more private?

          I was wondering if google can be even less private, really. i guess they really can be once they officially integrate cloud only ip cameras for the home to tie into the motion sensors and voice recorders and imei based people trackers. smart tvs with android probably will do that.

    • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Saturday September 30 2017, @07:13PM

      by fyngyrz (6567) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2017, @07:13PM (#575346) Homepage Journal

      Mycroft site is back up now.

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:43PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2017, @03:43PM (#575298)

    So does this involve sending a weapon of mass destruction into Amazon HQ in Seattle?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by crafoo on Saturday September 30 2017, @04:35PM (3 children)

    by crafoo (6639) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2017, @04:35PM (#575319)

    Who buys these things? People with enough wealth for frivolous electronic gadgets aren't smart enough to avoid integrating their most personal space with a global advertising corporation?

    Are we lost? Why are their so few sane people left?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by fyngyrz on Saturday September 30 2017, @06:43PM (1 child)

      by fyngyrz (6567) Subscriber Badge on Saturday September 30 2017, @06:43PM (#575336) Homepage Journal

      Who buys these things?

      Lots of people do. As of January 2017, Amazon had sold over eleven million Echos.

      That's the way it is. If you can't imagine the benefits, or you can't tolerate the compromises, then of course, they won't be selling them to you.

      The rest of us won't even notice. Each to their own.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @04:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 01 2017, @04:35AM (#575476)

        Each to their own.

        Which incidentally was written on the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
        Fitting for a device of corporate totalitarian control.

        (And don't go whining about Godwin, Google started this WW2 thing by referring to the Manhattan project!)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2017, @07:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 30 2017, @07:41PM (#575355)

      They seem to be popular in South Park. I wouldn't be surprised they didn't use goatse on them.

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