Talk is cheap

Spotify is reportedly developing a not-so-smart voice assistant

"Hey Spotify, play music because that's all you can do."

Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Spotify, play "Mr. Me Too."

The streaming service is reportedly looking to get into the voice assistant game with its own in-app feature. App reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong discovered the feature, which is still in development, via a hidden settings panel. Once enabled, "Hey Spotify" will listen for commands when the app is open and onscreen.

Umm, but why? — Given what we know, "Hey Spotify" doesn't sound tremendously useful. Google Assistant and Apple's Siri, both of which come pre-installed on their respective parent companies' smartphones, are already Spotify compatible. And unlike "Hey Spotify," they're not limited to operation when Spotify is onscreen.

Wong didn't reveal which voice commands will be available. Playback is a given, but it's hard to imagine what else we'd need. This seems like a case of Spotify hopping on a trend and contributing nothing new of use.

Another "Thing" — Spotify is also developing the "Home Thing," an entry into the already-crowded space of smart speakers. Once again, we don't yet know what exactly it'll do. Without access to Alexa's enormous range of skills or Google's trove of user data, Spotify's ability to compete with either looks dubious.

Spotify also made the "Car Thing" available to a small group of Premium users for testing last year. The blog post announcing that thing was, once again quite, vague. "We might do similar voice-specific tests in the future," one of the bullet points read. Which is wonderfully non-committal. And thus, fittingly, about as much use as a Spotify-powered virtual assistant.