BBC iPlayer is getting a voice assistant to rival Alexa – and it's called Beeb

voice assistant
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The BBC is gearing up to launch a voice assistant to rival the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant, that will help users navigate BBC iPlayer hands-free. 

The voice assistant, which is called Beebs, will be optimised to understand British regional accents, and is being tested on BBC staff around the UK to make sure it can pick up everything from Brummie to Glaswegian intonations.

According to The Guardian, the BBC has no plans to launch a physical product like the Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers to house its proprietary voice assistant. 

Instead, Beeb will come built-in to the BBC’s website, its iPlayer app on smart TVs, and will be "made available to manufacturers who want to incorporate the public broadcaster’s software."

amazon echo

Beeb won't come in a standalone speaker like the Amazon Echo. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

BBC goes interactive

Like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, you'll be able to wake the voice assistant by saying its name, "Beeb". 

However, it won't have the same scope as these voice assistants, being focussed solely on enabling users to search for existing BBC shows like Eastenders and Killing Eve, using their voice.

That's not all – according to The Guardian, Beeb will also the BBC to develop "new forms of interactive programming". Excitingly, this means we could see shows in the vein of Netflix's Black Mirror, which wowed audiences with it's 'choose your own adventure' episode, Bandersnatch

There's no word yet on who will provide the new assistant's voice, but here's hoping the BBC picks one of Britain's most-loved broadcasters, David Attenborough – that would make for a very relaxing experience indeed.

Via The Guardian

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.