The ‘voice assistant’ war has begun. Top conglomerates are coming out with their own versions, leveraging latest technologies, to dominate the smart speaker market. And the new gaint to get into the turf to battle it out is none other than Google, with its all-rounder smart speaker Google Home.
Google Home was officially launched in the United States in late 2016. The following year it was released in Australia, Japan and few other European countries, finally debuting in India on 10 April 2018. On the other hand, Amazon’s own smart speaker, Echo, first launched in 2014, but had a wide release in mid 2015. Though Amazon Echo predates Google Home by a few years, the latter is quickly gaining traction among users.
Since both devices are are competitively featured, beating it out the best they could, the smart speaker market is rife with speculations as to which is the best.
Google Home or Amazon Echo, which one should you go for?
Here’s a detailed comparison to help choose the one that fits your need.
Catching users attention in the first go is a great technique. Since Amazon Echo is slightly senior to Google Home, its earlier basic versions were, well, er, just basic in its design too. But the new Echo devices are stylish and they come 6 beautiful finishes – one Metallic, two Wood, and three Material.
Google Home takes a slightly different approach in impressing with its design. These smart speakers have some neat curves, contrary to its cylindrical counterpart. The ‘curvy’ look – according to Google – was inspired by candles and wine glasses.
The bottom part of the Google Home speaker can be swapped with different shells to match it with your interior or furnishings, and it offers six different shell options in fabric or metal.
The functionality on top portion of each smart speakers also vary. Amazon Echo goes the mechanical way by offer physical buttons for activation and volume control. Google has embraced the touch panel where you can simply swipe and get things done along with a physical mute button at the back side.
Both has far-field microphone technology, designed to pick up voices from long range.
Music and Video
Both devices lets you perform multi-room audio and lets you to create groups and stream to multiple devices.
The Echo can stream from Amazon Prime Music, while Google can play from Play Music and Google Cast. Both the devices feature TuneIn radio and Spotfiy, but Google also offer Pandora, though that is only for US.
When it comes to video, Google has upped the advantage with its Cast Support, where users can send videos to Netflix and YouTube (Google Chromecast), and control voice playbacks. The Cast support also extends to speakers so you can control music through your voice to other supported devices.
On the other hand, Amazon Echo lets you connect to a Fire TV stick, giving similar video playback options.
Home and Echo, apart from being smart speakers – as they are generally termed – go several steps ahead in delivering some cool smart home controls. And both devices lets you control products from top brands such as Samsung, Philips, LG, and Nest.
With Google’s AI powered Assistant comes built-in with Home, you can perform scores of smart activities like change or dim lights, control your microwave, change your room temperature, turn on or off your kettle, start your Roomba and more.
In this respect, Amazon has taken Echo a step forward by bringing its revamped app into the fold. The app, instead of just listing out which smart home devices you have, it lets you control them. Though you cannot control everything through the app (for example, you cannot set your thermostat temperature), it come out as a good added advantage.
Source: Trusted reviews
Another interesting aspect of Amazon Echo is its Routines feature. Through Routines you could control several devices with a single phrase. For example, ‘Alexa, goodbye’ can turn off several devices like, lights, heating system, etc.
By and large, when it comes to overall smart home functionality Amazon Echo wins over Google Home.
Both products come with their respective ‘assistants’ to get the job done. Amazon has its Alexa built in, and Google features its Google Assistant. The default search engine for Echo is Bing.
Echo’s Alexa is efficient in understanding a series of simple commands, and are not very capable in understanding natural language, thus eliciting users to phrase their requests in a different way.
Another area where Alexa tends to misunderstand user commands is in its one wake-up word. The default wake-up word is “Alexa”, but you can also make it respond to words like ‘Amazon’, ‘Echo’ or even ‘Computer’. Due to these different wake-up words there is a possibility that the device could get confused, or mishear users’ commands.
Google Assistant is built into Google’s architecture, giving Home a distinct advantage. Google Home has just two one-word wake-ups – “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” – to rouse it into action. And, unlike Amazon Echo, Google Home is capable of understanding two-way conversation based on Google’s natural language algorithm, resulting in better response to natural phrases.
Google upped their game with the app support feature, where results of requests are produced in the Pixel phone. Another advantage of Google Home lies in its optimal leveraging of Google maps. When users ask about route directions and traffic updates, the device promptly pulls them from Google Maps.
Alexa is capable of pulling information from the paid-for account G Suite Google Calendar. Google Assistant cannot do this.
Both devices offer some interesting calling and messaging functionalities. Amazon offers several features to keep your household in sync. Either through Echo or the Alexa App you can call or message – for free. You can voice command the device to call or send someone a message. Through the Drop In feature, you can use the device to communicate with your family members in different rooms. For example, by saying “Alexa, drop in” or “Alexa, drop in on the kitchen” you are turning the device into a household intercom, where you can communicate with other Echo devices in your home. As a security measure, you also have the option of disabling the Drop In feature.
On the other hand, Google offers hands-free calling facility, but this functionality is currently only available in the US, UK, Canadian French and Canadian English. The calls can be made to local mobile phones and landlines, for free. You can also set up your call ID in the Google Home App to let the receivers know that the call was made by you.
Amazon Echo Vs Google Home. It is not easy to term any one of them as the winner. It doesn’t have to be. Both the devices tap into the same market, offer more or less the same features, and both come with their share of pros and cons. For instance, Google Home is much easier to have a natural conversation with, while Echo gives a wide range of speakers and are good in device-to-device calling. In some areas Echo can win over Google Home, and in some, Google can outsmart Echo.
This comparison is to help you to find out which device does actually serve your real purpose. It is not just about what they offer, it is more about what you want.