Google Assistant vs Amazon Echo & Alexa
Tech giants of our times are stopping at nothing in coming up with unbelievably remarkable technologies. One of the finest emerging tech trend right now is the chatty virtual assistants. It’s emerging because it has come from far and each of these tech giants admits more remains to be done to make it perfect or at least near perfect.
Google is proud to have their new and polished Google Assistant whereas Amazon has Alexa. Microsoft has also not been left out as they have the Cortana and Apple too has Siri. But our focus today is on Google Assistant vs Amazon Echo and Alexa. Just how do the two compare?
Google assistant simply lets you ask questions and receive answers. It’s a voice-controlled system that takes in your commands, mostly questions and provides answers to them right away. Initially, it only featured in smartphones and smartwatches but right now it’s present in Google Home which is basically Google’s version of Amazon Echo. It has also been featured in Google’s recently launched Pixel Smartphones.
Amazon Echo lets you use nothing but your voice to search the web, check the weather, control smart home products, stream music and so much more.
Google assistant is also set to feature third-party integration. This will be done with help of “Actions on Google”. Developers will soon be able to integrate Google assistant in their apps as well as services so as users can ask and receive answers within those apps.
Amazon Echo and Alexa
Amazon Alexa is the artificial intelligence featured in Amazon Echo (Alexa-controlled smart speakers). Alexa debuted two years ago (November 2014) and more interesting to note is that its growth has been steady even with emerging competition from rival tech giants. Same thing could also be said of the Echo, which Amazon considers to be among its top selling gadgets. Recently, the company introduced the Echo Dot, which is basically a smaller version of the Echo.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo has of course experienced tremendous success in the past and one major reason for this was because, well, it was free from competition. But that never lasted long. Google Home is here with us and comes with the full backing of its company’s vast search engine.
Both actually share the same roles: personal assistant, source of entertainment and a smart home controller. But what really sets them apart? Is there more to them than this? Well, let’s look at what each of them can do under those three categories:
Source of entertainment
First off, each of them comes with a built-in microphone that takes in voice commands from a moderate distance. But before you serve them your verbal commands, you have to wake them up first.
Wake commands: For Google Home, you can tell it “Hey Google” or “Okay Google”. Echo needs you to command it “Alexa” or if you wish, you can change that to simply “Echo”. For each of them to hear you well, ensure that any other noise present in the room is within moderate limits.
Connecting to a stereo system: Both devices deliver a great sound but offer different ways of connecting to a stereo system. Google Home lets you control any speaker that is Google cast enabled. You can as well control any speaker that has been linked to a Chromecast audio streamer. On the other hand, Amazon Echo requires that you buy its mini version, the Amazon Echo Dot, and then plug it into your speakers.
Music streaming options: Google Home cam stream from Google play music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora, and TuneIn while with Amazon Echo, you can stream from Amazon prime music, Pandora, Spotify, Tune in, iheartRadion and others.
TV integration: Google Home works so perfect when it comes to YouTube. Just utter the video's name and it will pull it up or if you like, you can call a group, for instance, "trending videos". Also, once you have the Chromecast video streamer, it will let you control your TV.
You can as well integrate your TV to Alexa but only if you own a Fire TV. But to experience a lot more than what Google Home does with your TV, Alexa requires that you buy a Logitech Harmony setup which is a little more expensive than the Chromecast streamer.
So, on entertainment, Google Home seems to do a lot better than Amazon Alexa because it has a few more extras like its ability to group multiple speakers, as well as the capacity to let you control your TV at a cheaper cost.
Google home: As your personal assistant, Google Home can respond to a number of things. You can actually ask it to:
Check your calendar
Set a timer or an alarm and also snooze it.
Check traffic for you
Call an Uber
Answer a question that would need a Google search.
Add some items to your shopping list
Brief you about the weather
Do a calculation. And so much more.
With the help of Google’s various services, Google Home is able to learn more about you and respond well to this questions. Google Home also utilizes Google assistant to respond to your commands in a conversational manner.
You can ask it simultaneous questions and expect a correct response, for instance ‘Who is Leonardo Dicaprio? And after receiving an answer you can follow up with “Which movie awards has he won?” and Google Home will respond with answers.
Alexa: Alexa is also able to deliver great responses conversationally. It’s nearly on par with google home as it can respond to your simultaneous questions. You could ask it about the weather and follow it up with what weather to expect on a specific day.
Alexa also allows you to set some reminders and to-do lists. But what really puts Alexa ahead of Google home under this category is its partnership with third parties as well as its well over 3000 skills.
Smart home controller
What each of these two can do as a smart home controller mostly depends on their smart home partnerships. Here’s a breakdown of which smart home partnerships each has.
Google home: Philips Hue, IFTTT, Nest and SmartThings
Amazon Echo: IFTTT, Nest, SmartThings, Wink, Philips Hue, Ecobee, Belkin WeMo, Lifx, Hue, Big Ass fans, and other devices through 'skills'.
The fact that Amazon Echo has been around for quite some time gives it an edge over Google home when it comes to partnerships.
In the case of Philips bulbs, both pull names from the Philips hue app.
Naming and grouping: Whereas Alexa lets you come up with customized group names for your devices, Google Home lets you assign them nicknames and it automatically groups the into rooms.
If a bulb has been named 'home lamp' in the Philips app, Alexa only responds when you use that specific name. If you come up with a group for specific lights, Alexa will respond if you tell it to turn on/off those specific lights in that group. So Alexa won't respond to any other names besides those in the app as well as the specified group name.
Google Home, on the other hand, allows you to nickname your lamp. If it’s a desk lamp, you can rename it to ‘Lampisque’ and assign it to a specific group, for instance 'office'. Google Home will then respond if you call out the assigned nickname or the lamp's specific name or 'office' which is now the group you've assigned the lamp to.. Besides that, it automatically groups the lamp with the rest of the lights so you'll have it easy differentiating them.
IFTTT and Philips hue integration: When it comes to these two, Google Home performs exceptionally well than Alexa. It's only Home that lets you control your Philips bulb's color, something Alexa can't do. With IFTTT, Google Home allows you to come up with customizable. Here's an example: you can say "I'm going out" and home will respond by switching off the lights.
Alexa, on the other hand, requires that you include the word "Trigger" before you use a customizable command.
This kind of flexibility is what makes Google Home better than Alexa when it comes to smart home control.
To sum up, Google Home looks to have an edge over Amazon echo when it comes to entertainment and smart home control but Amazon Echo does exceptionally well as a personal assistant. And since Google Home is still new to the market, more remains to be seen as to how far they can take their technology. On the other hand, Alexa won’t just sit and watch Google Home claim its space so there’s a lot more to be anticipated from them as well. This should good news to consumers as they stand to gain from what each has to bring.