The BBC has announced its intention to launch its own voice assistant next year to help users find their favorite programs and interact with online services hosted by the public broadcaster.

BBC iPlayer1
The voice assistant's working title and wake-word is currently "Beeb," and it will be built into the BBC's website, its iPlayer app and other mobile apps, and made available to manufacturers who want to incorporate the British broadcaster's software.

The BBC said it had no plans to launch a Beeb hardware device, but the voice assistant is being designed to work on existing smart speakers and smart TVs that include the iPlayer app.

BBC staff around the UK will be recording their voices to help train the assistant to recognize different British accents, something that U.S. voice assistants have been known to struggle with.

The BBC said having its own assistant would enable it to "experiment with new programs, features and experiences without someone else's permission to build it in a certain way."

"Much like we did with BBC iPlayer, we want to make sure everyone can benefit from this new technology, and bring people exciting new content, programs and services - in a trusted, easy-to-use way," said a BBC spokesman.

According to The Guardian, from the end of the month BBC radio stations will no longer be available on the popular TuneIn radio app, which is also used by Amazon's Alexa, because the U.S. company refused to share information on listeners of BBC stations.

Instead, the BBC wants people to access its content through BBC apps or via Alexa, in the hope that people log in and it can better understand what people are consuming.

Top Rated Comments

Moonjumper Avatar
36 months ago
The BBC keeps expanding into new areas when it is already in a questionable funding environment. I'm sure the over 75s who will soon have to start paying the licence fee will not be happy at this.

The BBC is supposed to provide a service that would not otherwise exist, not compete with commercial enterprises. The BBC has no valid reason to exist beyond providing broadcasts (or related services) that would not happen if they did not exist. This does not meet that.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
36 months ago
The BBC keeps expanding into new areas when it is already in a questionable funding environment. I'm sure the over 75s who will soon have to start paying the licence fee will not be happy at this.

The BBC is supposed to provide a service that would not otherwise exist, not compete with commercial enterprises. The BBC has no valid reason to exist beyond providing broadcasts (or related services) that would not happen if they did not exist. This does not meet that.
They pay big salaries to some, like Jeremy Clarkson, which made sense in his case as Top Gear was sold globally, meaning they got a massive return on their investment.

So how exactly do they recoup that money with presenters like Gary Lineker (£1.75m pa), a man who in-between posting left-wing tweets, sits in a seat and presents footage of other people playing football?

The BBC News website is a travesty of journalism these days as well. Glorified headlines, manipulated statistical graphs to create hysteria and regularly quoting isolated tweets with virtually no likes in articles, as if they represent the feelings of many.

The BBC has lost all integrity and perspective.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
fivenotrump Avatar
36 months ago
The BBC squanders millions on failed experiments. A recent example is the huge amount spent developing the hopeless Sounds app. As is usually the case, publicly funded entities are happy to chuck the taxpayers’ cash around with apparently little thought or oversight.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruceEBonus Avatar
36 months ago
The BBC is a joke. Extreme left wing. With agenda driven staffing. And subject matter. London centric. And unbelievably wasteful in presenter numbers. They have three women on one
show which ironically is called Rip Off Britain. They have over a dozen weather presenters and even more sports presenters. Their programmes are dumbing down daily to reflect the exhausted line up of politically correct scripting. Their mainstays like Strictly and Apprentice out stayed their tired formats years ago but the indoctrinated
watchers have nothing else but Facebook to prove theyre alive so watch it they will. And don't get me started on the scandal of how shockingly bad their weather forecasting is. A national joke. But well. It's the BBC innit. What's that? A voice software ecognition thing. Well recognise this. You're crap. You're no longer what you were. And it might set you better to look a bit newer home. Get rid of half the presenters. Stop paying them obscene pay amounts. And rethink banning free licences for the over 75s. Not all of them are Hunniford. Somerville Or Rippon.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Duncan-UK Avatar
36 months ago
The BBC keeps expanding into new areas when it is already in a questionable funding environment. I'm sure the over 75s who will soon have to start paying the licence fee will not be happy at this.

The BBC is supposed to provide a service that would not otherwise exist, not compete with commercial enterprises. The BBC has no valid reason to exist beyond providing broadcasts (or related services) that would not happen if they did not exist. This does not meet that.
If the BBC didn’t compete with commercial enterprises then it would have ceased to exist decades ago. Public service broadcasting is not the weary ghetto you make out. Arguably the commercial sector would be even worse than it is now without having had a high class BBC “keeping it honest”.

Commercial enterprises should not have a free ride. I’m glad British children get CBeebies as opposed to a diet of non-UK sugar coated stuff.

That said there appears to be few obvious reasons why the BBC are considering this. It sounds like someone had a few too many drinks at the Edinburgh TV festival and it’s been spun as an Alexa competitor.

Of course if it did happen then they wouldn’t use the word “hey” before Beeb. Nobody in the UK uses the word hey like this. It’s cringeworthy to have to say it to a HomePod in the (relative) privacy of your own home, let along in public to an iOS device. Don’t think Tim Apple knows this however...
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nnoble Avatar
36 months ago
A welcome feature, already widely available in other areas, that will allow easier access to existing content for a wide range of listeners including the elderly and others who may suffer from impaired vision and, or mobility. Since the Sounds App replaced the old and ailing Radio Player it has opened up a window to a wealth of content. I don't have a television but do pay the licence fee and personally, it provides value for money. The BBC in general is worth much more than the sum of its parts.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
iphone 13 pro max display bleen

iPhone 14 Max Reportedly Weeks Behind Schedule [Updated]

Thursday May 26, 2022 7:25 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Max is currently behind schedule by around three weeks, according to Haitong International Securities analyst Jeff Pu. Yesterday, Nikkei Asia reported that at least one iPhone 14 model was three weeks behind schedule due to the impact of lockdowns on Apple's supply chains in China, but it was not clear which iPhone 14 model this related to. Now, Pu has clarified that the model...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
iOS 16 mock for feature wishlist

iOS 16 Wishlist: Features MacRumors Readers Want to See in the Next Version of iOS

Friday May 27, 2022 2:15 pm PDT by
There's just over a week to go until the 2022 Worldwide Developers Conference, which is one of the biggest Apple events of the year. We've heard surprisingly little about iOS 16 this year, so we're in for some major surprises when June 6 rolls around. As we wait for the keynote event, we thought we'd share some iOS 16 wishlist items from MacRumors readers, because who knows? We just might...
top stories 28may2022

Top Stories: WWDC 2022 Schedule, New Apple Watch Pride Bands, and More

Saturday May 28, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
It's Memorial Day weekend in the United States, and that means WWDC is right around the corner and anticipation is building for what we might see at the opening keynote. Software updates are a given, but will we see any new hardware? Other news this week included the annual release of new Pride-themed Apple Watch bands, iPhone 14 Pro rumors, and Sony's latest headphones that compete against...
a16 5nm m2 3nm feature 2

Alleged Apple Chip Plans Suggest 'A16' Will Stick With 5nm, 'M2' to Make Jump to 3nm Instead

Friday May 27, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
The "A16" chip for the iPhone will reportedly be manufactured with the same process as the iPhone 13's A15 Bionic, with Apple saving a bigger performance leap for the "M2" chip designed for its next-generation Macs. Meanwhile, the company is working on a "final" M1 chip variant that uses more powerful cores from the A15, according to the leaker known as "ShrimpApplePro." In a thread on...