Smart speakers can make your life easier whether you are using them in their simplest form, “turn on the music” or for everyday tasks, “turn out the lights off at 9:00 pm”, these devices have changed how many people live their daily lives.
By far the biggest names in this industry are Google Home and Amazon Echo, 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.
What Is Amazon Echo?
Alexa is designed to multitask. It can handle multiple alarms and timers allow you to listen to your favorite audiobook,re-order items from Amazon and integrate with your Google calendar.
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, Philips Hue, Ring, August Smart Lock Pro, and your TV to name a few.
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.
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.
Google Home acts as a speaker, 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.
Similarities between Google Home and Amazon Echo
Both Amazon Echo and Google Home are smart speakers. You can stream music from online platforms like Amazon Prime Music, Google Cast and Play Music, 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. Additionally, it features a hand’s free voice calling feature. It allows users to make calls to landlines and cell phones 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 100,000 products. Google Home is playing catch up with 5,000 products 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 choices make it easier to pick one that matches your home décor.
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 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 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, “Alexa”. 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. The wake-up command “Hey Google” or “OK Google” somewhat reduces the chances of accidentally waking up.
Amazon Echo has the 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 10 options to choose from in addition to the regular male and female voices. They are easy to toggle through and change. Google has even included the option to have John Legend as your home assistant voice!
Amazon Echo does not have a male voice for Alexa yet. However, Alexa’s voice can change to an Indian, British or Canadian accent among others. Similarly to Google Home, Echo has introduced Samuel L Jackson as a voice on its platform. There are several questions you can ask Alexa to ask Samuel which can be fun but he isn’t a full-fledged virtual assistant voice.
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.
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 and to fully outfit your home with smart products, Amazon Echo is best. It is the pioneer brand in this space and Google, though making major strides lacks compatibility with as many products as Amazon Echo.