Smart speakers are the rage of the 21st century. There’s no way you don’t know about them. Not unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past decade. What captures the hearts of many is the fact that they can actually talk.
That said, since you are reading this, it’s safe to assume you are in the search of a smart speaker. In your search, you’ll have to make a choice between Google home and Amazon Echo. These are by far the biggest names in this industry, they are both polished and each has a massive following. It’s also worth noting that they have similarities and differences. The device you choose will boil down to your preferences.
To help you make an informed choice below is a quick comparison review of the two giants in the industry.
What is the Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo is simply an audio speaker. It has a cylindrical shape and is integrated with Alexa, a personal voice assistant. Alexa is much like Siri, only a product of Amazon. Echo stays on and is connected to Wi-Fi at all times. Allowing it to be on your home network at all times provides it with cloud services. Moreover, it features Bluetooth which allows you to stream music from your smart gadgets.
Alexa is designed to multitask. It can handle multiple alarms and timers allow you to listen to your favorite audiobooks and re-order items from Amazon. Heck, it’s integrated with Google Calendar and comes with IFTTT support.
Some of these capabilities are built-in while others have to be enabled through the Alexa App. The additional skills allow you to control numerous home products including those from WEMO, LIFX and, Philips Hue.
The current standard Amazon Echo is an upgrade from the first version. Needless to say, it features numerous upgrades and at a lower price point. The new Amazon Echo is shorter and has improved sound quality courtesy of Dolby processing. It also sports the second generation far field technology.
What is Google Home
Being Amazon Echo’s competitor, it’s safe to assume that it’s a similar product. But just so we are on the same page, here is a brief introduction of Google Home. Google is the leading tech company in the world. With every passing year, it continues to grow and break its own records. Over time, it has diversified and gotten into different industries. Each industry it gets into, it excels and enjoys great success. Google Home a Wi-Fi speaker is one of its latest ventures.
The Wi-Fi speaker also functions like a smart home control center and a P.A for the family. It can be used to playback entertainment in the house, manage daily tasks and answer some questions you might have.
The speaker itself features an interchangeable base with various finishes and colors to match consumer tastes. These finishes include fabric and metal. Underneath the ‘customizable shell’ is a speaker designed to playback songs and talk to you through Google Assistant (Google’s equivalent of Alexa). At the top of the speaker is a touch display featuring 4 LEDs.
This display is designed to allow users to interact with trigger Assistant, Home adjust volume and more. It also features dual mics that listen for your voice. But in case you have no need for those, you can always mute them. The unit can filter noise from speech and the speakers deliver high-quality sound. The highs and clear and the bass is deep and rich.
Similarities between Google Home and Amazon Echo
Video and music
Both Amazon Echo and Google Home are smart speakers. As such, they play music. You can stream music from online platforms like Amazon Prime Music, Google Cast and Play music. Both feature TuneIn Radio and Spotify. Additionally, you can stream music to multiple smart devices.
They both can be used for communication. Though the platforms used are different, the tech is the same. Amazon Echo allows users to make calls to other devices in the house and to friends via the internet. Echo Show allows for video calling. On the other hand, Google Home is designed with a Broadcast feature, this sends recorded messages to all speakers in the house. Though not as handy and convenient as Echo’s technology, it gets the job done.
Additionally, it features a hand’s free voice calling feature. It allows users to make calls to landlines and local mobiles for free.
Today, lots of devices are compatible with both Google Home and Amazon Echo. Many smart home solutions have embraced Google Assistant and Alexa. However, Alexa is compatible with over 20,000 products. With 10,000 products, Google Home is playing catch up but it’s gaining fast.
Google and Amazon have made their speakers kid friendly. They each already have built-in features designed for family and kids entertainment. These include stories, family games, and activities. In addition to these features, Google is throwing in a ‘Pretty Please’ feature which will require kids to be polite when talking to Google Assistant. On the other hand, Amazon is rolling out new pieces of hardware dedicated to making its devices fun for kids.
Differences between Google Home and Amazon Echo
Before the new Amazon Echo was launched, Google Home won the design battle. But the second generation Echo has upped the stakes. The new Echo speaker is better looking and now comes in 6 attractive finishes including two wood, three material and one metallic. The choices make it easier to pick one that matches your home décor. However, Amazon retains the cylindrical look.
Google Home, on the other hand, features a curvier design. Its design is inspired by candles and wine glasses. As mentioned previously, the bases are interchangeable with different shells (six) to match your décor.
Additionally, Amazon’s approach to design is mechanical. The speaker has physical buttons for volume, activation and mute. Google, on the other hand, favored a touch panel though it does sport a physical mute button.
Amazon Echo features Alexa while Google Home has Google Assistant.
Alexa can understand some simple commands and a series of basic commands. It uses Bing as its default search engine. It’s important to note that Alexa will require you to phrase your questions and commands in a certain way so that she can understand your request. Unfortunately, the language you’ll inadvertently be forced to use isn’t always natural. Also, Alexa wake-up command is a single word. Waking the device up by mistake is fairly common.
Google assistant has the advantage of being built into Google’s architecture. As such it has access to a rich source of information. Wake-up commands are a combination of two words. It reduces the chances of accidentally going off.
If you have kids, you know this feature is important. Unfortunately, only Google Home has this feature. Amazon Echo is still to implement an explicit music block feature.
Though they are each designed to allow some significant amount of communication, there are some distinct differences. For one, Google Home doesn’t allow video calling or 9-1-1 calls yet. Amazon Echo does both which is pretty commendable.
Also, Google Home cannot receive text messages while Amazon Echo can.
Amazon Echo has the kindle advantage. Users can access books from their Kindle and Audible accounts. This feature is yet to be added on Google Home.
If you don’t like the Google Assistant’s voice, you can always change it. Google Assistant has 6 options to choose from in addition to the regular male and female voices. They are easy to toggle through and change. I love the fact that Google is looking to add a voice based on John Legend’s voice. Ladies how cool is that?
Amazon Echo does not have a male voice for Alexa yet. However, Alexa’s voice can change to an Indian, British or Canadian accent.
Prices differ between the two brands and devices. But in all fairness, even with the price differences, there’s something for everyone. But generally, Google Home products are a tad cheaper.
So Which Should You Pick?
Well, it’s true that Google is still playing catch up on most smart speaker fronts. Nonetheless, they are both pretty accomplished brands and have something to offer. With the basic features, they are equal and it’s difficult to tell them apart. As such it boils down to the nitty gritties.
Your choice will be influenced and guided based on the ecosystem you prefer. If you have invested in Google products, the Google Home is the best product to purchase. The experience will be better requiring minimal additional investments to enjoy the full package.
But if you are looking for reliability, Amazon Echo is best. It is the pioneer brand in this space and Google, though making major strides is still playing catch up.