The BBC is developing a voice-activated electronic assistant in an attempt to rival Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
It will similarly be styled as a character – currently dubbed ‘Auntie’ by insiders in a nod to the BBC’s longstanding nickname – but will be renamed before launch to make it more ‘modern-sounding’.
The assistant would be available to download free on smartphones and smart TVs in the UK. It would allow users to seek information across the internet by issuing a verbal instruction.
For example, users could ask the app to get weather reports, play the most recent episode of The Archers or work out the quickest route to work.
A source said: ‘Instead of saying, “Alexa would you…?”, you would say, “Auntie would you… Auntie what’s the weather?”
‘It would be your trusted guide to information, education and entertainment. That’s what these assistants are becoming – Siri or Alexa or Google.’
It is not yet clear how the BBC would make it available on smart speakers like those sold by Amazon and Google.