Just ask auntie: BBC to launch its own digital assistant called Beeb

The BBC is working on a digital assistant to rival the likes of Siri and Alexa. Due to launch in 2020, the system goes by the name Beeb, and is being developed to handle regional accents better than current assistants.

The corporation has no plans -- for now at least -- to release a physical product along the lines of Google Home, as Beeb is destined to be used to allow people to use their voices to interact with online services and search for shows.

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Beeb has been developed in-house by the BBC, and recordings of staff around the UK have been used to train the software to recognize different accents. As reported by the Guardian, Beeb is set to be added to the BBC website as well as being incorporated into iPlayer and smart TVs.

A spokesperson for the BBC said:

With an assistant of its own, the BBC will have the freedom to experiment with new programmes, features and experiences without someone else's permission to build it in a certain way. It will also allow the BBC to be much more ambitious in the content and features that listeners can enjoy.

This could be a reference to the fact that by using its own voice assistance, the BBC will be able to gather more data about users' viewing and listening habits. The corporation is also hoping that being a trusted household name will open up more people to the idea of using the Beeb digital assistant.

Image credit: Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock

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