The Amazon Echo has been the queen of Smart Assistants since November 2014. But its fame has been challenged two years after by the Google Home.
The two smart speakers have been the finest of their kinds, but if you’re new to the virtual world of Artificial Intelligence (AI),
it pays to know their respective strengths and weaknesses before acquiring one.
For you to arrive at a fair judgment, let’s examine the Amazon Echo and the Google Home under four criteria.
At first sight, Google Home’s look might ring a bell. It might display a familiarity you can’t quite muster. Well, many publications say that it resembles an air freshener. We couldn’t agree more, but we all know Google Home is more than that.
While its aesthetics’ comparison might get you chuckling, it’s a notable advantage how the Google Home can seamlessly blend into your home’s environment. After all, Smart Assistants are meant to be kept at home.
Talk about minimalist design and the Google Home scores high.
The upper body of a Google Home unit is White. Its lower half leaves the users the option to change its color from various choices that Google provides. The smart speakers come with a Gray fabric, but you can also choose between Violet, Mango, Marine Fabric bases. Other designs are offered, such as Snow, Carbon, Copper Metal bases to help your Home fit into any room more naturally. The fabric options will cost you about $20, while the metal options are at around $40.
The Google Home has only one physical button. It functions as Deafen/Mute button when you don’t want it to listen to you or to stop it from making a sound. Also, the touch activated top of the unit can also control volume adjustment, halting of timers and alarms.
Since the Home is voice activated, its all other features can be curbed by the user’s voice alone.
When you give your commands to the Google Home, Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow lights flash up and spin.
Also, its cable hides neatly under the base, and it’s long enough to allow you to position your Google Home in your desired location without producing too much clutter.
The Amazon Echo stands taller at 9.3 inches and is cylindrical. It has speakers all around it and comes with Black or White variety. Most people opt for the Black model since it looks more discrete than the White speaker. But the White speaker also has its ace as it blends in nicely with some modern-day households.
While the Echo has its distinctive look among other appliances or particular furniture, its simplicity lets it disguise as any other home decoration. It makes it an excellent option for a countertop or shelving unit.
Like the Google Home, the Amazon Echo also uses only minimal physical dials. The Circular Dial at the topmost part of the Amazon Echo is for adjusting the volume manually. It also has a Deafen/Mute Button if you don’t want it to talk or listen to you.
If the voice assistant has trouble hearing you, you can press the button on top of the unit. It activates Alexa if you don’t want to use the ‘Alexa’ keyword.
In general, both Google Home and Amazon Echo has sleek and minimalist designs. Beauty is always subjective, so the verdict is yours for this criterion.
Voice assistants are developed for a universal purpose. It’s to make life easier for its users. With this, it’s important to note how good they are in doing their essence. It’s important to measure how ‘smart’ they are.
If you acquired your unit for practical reasons, both Google Home and Amazon Echo have the same features. Both of them can tell you the nearest shoe store for your upcoming party. But in this particular leg, the Google Home has its advantage of hooking into its Maps services. In other words, it can give you an estimated time by car. The Echo, on the other hand, can only tell you the distance of that shoe store.
Also, no worries about regular weather updates. Both Home and Echo speakers can give you detailed weather reports. If you’re a sports junkie, you can also ask both of them for updates about this topic. Expect that they’ll have a difference on the deliverance of their respective answers.
The Home owes its smart ability to its treasure trove of information. Compared to the Echo speaker, the Home speaker can understand context.
It’s undeniable that having a personal assistant at home means you can control smart home appliances like lights. Both the Home and the Echo wireless speakers can be hooked with a variety of Smart lights like Phillips Hue and LIFX. All these can be controlled with your voice. If you say “Let there be light!” Voila! Your lights are on.
Their primary difference is that the Google Home has a “Home Control” section built right into the Google Home app. The Echo needs you to install the specialized skill in the Alexa App.
The Google Home takes advantage of various Google services such as Calendar. It allows you to set up events under your Google account. You can mark a time and place on your schedule. With the Amazon Echo, it can connect to services like Microsoft Outlook.
When it comes to some of the simpler tasks though, Google can still fail. The Home can’t create to-do lists and add reminders.
Good news for chef-wannabes! Both options can teach you thousands of recipes. Notably, Google’s Home speaker is almost made for this service. It can guide you to cooking at an utmost comfortable pace. If you miss a step, you can ask “what was that last step?” and the Home will lead the way. To top it off, the Home can let you browse up to 5 million recipes on your phone. On the other hand, the Echo needs to connect with AllRecipes before you can showcase your culinary expertise. The difference is pretty noticeable.
Another interesting feature added to the Google Home is its ability to recognize multiple users. You can also train your Home to identify up to 5 voices. This feature is pretty impressive since the Home can personalize answers depending on whose voice is asking.
Both the Home and the Echo can make orders to places like Dominos.
Google just recently added end-to-end payments in its features. Once you’ve set this feature in your Google Home app, you’re ready to go. You can now order from various locations at the tip of your fingers.
On the other hand, Amazon needs you to enable skills for each area that you wish to order from with your voice. This setup isn’t that much of an issue if you order in the same location again and again.
If you’re an avid Amazon shopper and value the ability to make orders with your voice, the Echo is the one for you. Also, Amazon puts on various promotions that give you discounts for ordering with your voice. Sounds like news for avid online shoppers, right?
If you’re going to get a personal assistant, you would want it to be as responsive as possible. So, we did a quick test to see which unit was faster to respond to voice commands.
Out of 15 trials, the Google Home won 10 times. 1.56 seconds is the average response time for the Google Home. With the Echo, it responded in 1.66 seconds. This factor might not affect the users too much, but it pays to know which unit can do it faster for you. After all, who wants their pizza delivered seconds late?
Both Google Home and Amazon Echo has the power to stream major audio offerings like Pandora and Spotify from your connected account. But in this leg, Echo seems to ace the game.
The Home is limited to Pandora, Spotify, Youtube Music, and Google Play while the Echo is more than this. It can have iHeartRadio, Spotify, TuneIn, Pandora, Audible, and Amazon Music unlimited.
The Google Home speaker benefits from its cast feature by streaming various apps like Pocket Casts and all Chrome tabs. On the other hand, the Echo benefits from Amazon.
Familiarity to a particular virtual ecosystem can be a dealbreaker when it comes to choosing the best personal assistant for you.
Both Home and Echo speakers can get quite loud. Technically, the Amazon Echo gets 4.5db louder. It makes use of the multi-directional speaker.
The Google Home utilizes passive radiators on the side and one driver on the front. Objectively, the Home has better bass response compared to the Echo.
One common problem that both speakers have is their inability to hear keywords when playing music or other audio. During tests, the Home listened a bit better than the Echo.
Via Chromecast, the Google Home can control the video on your television with the usage of your voice.
The Chromecast can make use both Netflix and Youtube with Hulu, HBO Now, and many more for the upcoming season.
On the other hand, Amazon’s Fire TV doesn’t have this integration. This feature means that you can’t Echo can’t let you jump quickly to your favorite show.
In the realm of the virtual world, which AI reigns supreme?
Both smart speakers have a high set of advantages and disadvantages. Although the Amazon Echo remains to be the bearer of the widest level of device support for smart home setups, the Google Home continues to battle its way to being better in any other way.
Powered with free hands-free calling, the Chromecast support and more, Google can’t be a bad choice if you’re accustomed to the Google ecosystem.
If you want to get both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home cheap, you can always opt for the Echo Dot. The Dot gives you all the same benefits of the larger model. Although there may be a slight difference in the audio quality, the Echo Dot is a good alternative.
For better audio experience, you can link the Echo Dot to a Bluetooth speaker to get a better audio experience. In the high-tech world of AI, there is always a way through everything.
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