Sources said the device is unlikely to launch next week at Google's I/O developer conference, but plans are for it to land at some point this year.
We should, however, get a peek at it and its potential next week — voice search and intelligent personal assistance will occupy center stage at the company's splash show, along with virtual reality.
Google has long had voice assistant tech in its Android phones — beckoned by the words "Okay, Google" — that many in the industry see as leading the pack. (People inside Google think so, too.) But it has yet to bake that into the home, a key growing marketing for Google and its rivals. Its OnHub router, released last summer, does not have voice recognition capabilities.
Amazon, on the other hand, has moved headlong into the home with Echo. One analyst estimated that Amazon has sold three million units.
And Echo is collecting the type of data — what consumers search for, listen to and buy, and how they talk to machines — that Google loves. Amazon has long been considered a big threat to Google's core business as web and mobile app users go to the online retailer for product searches.