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
20 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)
WBRacing Avatar
20 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
20 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
20 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
20 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
20 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)

Top Stories

jon prosser imac 2021colors

Prosser: 2021 iMac to Come in Five Colors, Apple Silicon Mac Pro to Resemble 'Stacked' Mac Minis

Wednesday February 24, 2021 7:26 am PST by
Hit-and-miss leaker Jon Prosser has today alleged that the upcoming 2021 iMac models will offer five color options, mirroring the colors of the fourth-generation iPad Air, and revealed a number of additional details about the Mac Pro with Apple Silicon. In a new video on YouTube channel FrontPageTech, Prosser explained that the redesigned iMacs will come featuring options for Silver, Space ...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models With HDMI Port and SD Card Reader to Launch Later This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 8:52 pm PST by
Apple plans to release two new MacBook Pro models equipped with an HDMI port and SD card reader in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who outlined his expectations in a research note obtained by MacRumors. The return of an SD card reader was first reported by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman last month. "We predict that Apple's two new MacBook Pro models in 2H21 will have...
m1 mac mini

M1 Mac Users Report Excessive SSD Wear

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:07 am PST by
Over the past week, some M1 Mac users have been reporting alarming SSD health readings, suggesting that these devices are writing extraordinary amounts of data to their drives (via iMore). Across Twitter and the MacRumors forums, users are reporting that M1 Macs are experiencing extremely high drive writes over a short space of time. In what appear to be the most severe cases, M1 Macs are sai...
iphone 12 pro display video

BOE Rumored to Supply iPhone 13 Display Panels After iPhone 12 Failures

Monday February 22, 2021 9:54 am PST by
Display manufacturer BOE will be one of the main suppliers of OLED panels for iPhone 13 models, according to a new report today from Taiwan's Economic Daily News. BOE is said to be working with touch panel manufacturer General Interface Solution (GIS), part of the Hon Hai Group to develop OLED panels. Multiple iPhone 12 rumors suggested that BOE would supply some panels for the devices,...
flat mbp 14 inch feature yellow

Redesigned 14-Inch MacBook Pro Expected to Feature Brighter Mini-LED Display With Slimmer Bezels and More

Thursday February 25, 2021 7:48 am PST by
Apple plans to unveil new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED-backlit displays in the second half of this year, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese supply chain publication DigiTimes. The report claims that Radiant Opto-Electronics will be the exclusive supplier of the Mini-LED backlight units, while Quanta Computer is said to be tasked with final assembly of the...
anker magsafe powercore battery pack

Anker Releases MagSafe-Compatible Battery Pack for iPhone 12 Lineup

Tuesday February 23, 2021 7:49 am PST by
Following rumors that Apple is working on a MagSafe battery pack for iPhone 12 models, popular accessory maker Anker has beaten Apple to the punch with the release of its PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank. First previewed at CES 2021, the PowerCore battery pack magnetically attaches to the back of any iPhone 12 model and provides 5W of wireless charging. With a 5,000 mAh capacity,...
iPad Pro Mini LED

New iPad Pro and MacBook Models With Mini-LED Displays Again Rumored to Launch This Year

Monday February 22, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Taiwanese company Ennostar will begin production of Mini-LED backlight units for an upcoming 12.9-inch iPad Pro in the late first quarter or second quarter of this year, according to industry sources cited by DigiTimes. Ennostar is a holding company that was jointly established in January 2021 by LED-related manufacturers Epistar and Lextar Electronics. Apple is expected to unveil the new ...
First Look Big Sur Feature2

Apple Releases macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 to Prevent MacBooks From Being Damaged by Third-Party Non-Compliant Docks

Thursday February 25, 2021 10:07 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Big Sur 11.2.2, the fourth update to the macOS Big Sur operating system that launched in November. macOS Big Sur 11.2.2 comes two weeks after the release of macOS Big Sur 11.2.1, a bug fix update. The new ‌‌‌‌macOS Big Sur‌‌‌ 11.2.2‌ update can be downloaded for free on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences....
steam apple logo

Valve Ordered to Give Apple Information on 436 Steam Games As Part of Epic Games Legal Case

Thursday February 25, 2021 1:50 am PST by
Valve, the makers behind popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to hand over aggregate historical sales, price, and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. As reported in a paywalled report by Law360, during a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that...
scott forstall original iphone

Epic Games 'Attempting to Locate' Former iOS Chief Scott Forstall to Testify in Ongoing Legal Battle with Apple

Tuesday February 23, 2021 4:22 am PST by
As part of its ongoing legal battle, Epic Games is now seeking testimony from Apple's former iOS software chief, Scott Forstall. Forstall left Apple in 2013, in what was widely reported at the time to have been a forced exit, largely because of the botched early launch of Apple Maps. Since then, Forstall has kept a very low profile and has only made a few media appearances in the past few...