With the growing popularity of smart speaker devices, Alexa and Google are fast becoming household names in our times. These devices come with several features that contribute to us achieving a more convenient and organised lifestyle. They can regulate the lights and temperature of the house, order things for you, make memos and lists, play music, provide information, and even crack jokes!
They have assumed the role of head butler or maid in the twenty-first-century context. While speaking of smart home speakers, the two contenders that come into our mind are the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.
Both these devices provide almost all the same features, however, there are certain key differences amongst them. This article explores these key differences between these two speakers.
1. Price of the speakers
The first thing that catches the eye while considering the two options is the price-tag of these products. Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home comes in different models and versions. The cheapest version of the Amazon Echo is the Echo Dot which comes for $34.99. The other versions of the Amazon Echo include Amazon Echo at $99.99, Amazon Echo Spot at $129.99, Amazon Echo Plus at $149.99, the Amazon Echo Look at $199.99, and the Amazon Echo Show at $229.99.
The primary Google Home is priced at $130. There are other versions like the Google Home Mini which is priced at $34.99, and the Google Home Max which is priced at $399. As we can see the Amazon Echo is slightly preferable if one goes by the price alone.
2. Design of the Speakers
If a device must become a permanent addition to one’s home, then it is necessary that it be aesthetically pleasing and suitable to the overall décor of the house. The Amazon Echo is sleek and long in casing and comes in six varieties of design. There are three materials available; two wood, and one metallic option from which one can choose from. The Google Home on the other hand, exhibits a more compact and curvier approach. The idea of its design stems from wine glasses and candles. It is also available in six options ranging from material to metallic finish.
3. Built of the Speakers
As far as built is concerned, the Amazon Echo opts for a more mechanical approach. It has buttons on top of it that regulates volume and activation. The Google Home on the other hand, works through touch interface and with four LEDs to indicate visual feedback.
4. Alexa versus Google
The voice assistant that comes along with the Amazon Echo is Alexa and the one that comes with Google Home is Google. One can activate the Amazon Echo with commands such as Alexa, Echo, Amazon, or computer. The command for Google on the other hand, is a two-word phrase, “OK Google”. There are certain advantages of this two-word wake-up phrase. It ensures that the device does not accidentally wake up while mishearing an out of context conversation. This is a complaint, that is often made against the Amazon Echo.
Alexa is capable of understanding only basic simple commands, whereas Google’s far more advanced algorithm of language enables the Google Home to have better communication ease. The Google assistant is more context-aware and thus can understand and execute commands more as one would do in a real-life situation. Furthermore, the Google Assistant is better equipped at conducting two-way conversations.
5. Search Engine and web interface of the Speakers
The default search engine for the Amazon Echo is the Bing Search Engine. The Google Home on the other hand naturally uses Google as the default search engine. As far as databases are ease of access is concerned it is widely accepted that Google is a better search engine than Bing. The Google Assistant is built right into Google’s overall database and thus can sync one’s email, schedules, documents from other services like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, or Google Play Music. It is also easy to connect and sync one’s Pixel phone with the device.
6. Smart Home Interface of the speakers
By far the most attractive feature of these speakers is their smart home interfaces. It lets one control various settings of one’s home like security, lighting, or temperature. However, to avail this feature one must ensure that their device is compatible with furnishing applications like Phillips Hue lights, Samsung SmartThings, Nest thermostat etc. In this field the Amazon Echo has a pointed advantage over the Google Home as it is more widely compatible with such applications. To give an example, the software of the robot vacuum cleaner Dyson 360 Eye is not compatible with Google Home, but is compatible with Amazon Echo. However, this gap of compatibility of these two devices is a rather thin one.
7. Music and Video of the speakers
As the name suggests, these products are first and foremost speakers, albeit smart. Both these devices have the ability to let one connect to multiple devices across one’s home so the residents can enjoy multi-audio features. The Amazon Echo is able to play music from Amazon Prime Music and Spotify. The Google Home is able to play music from Google Play music, Cast, and Pandora.
The one advantage that Google Home has over Amazon Echo is its ability to connect to Google Chrome Cast. In this manner it can connect and play various movies and videos from Netflix, and YouTube. It can also pause or activate music and video through voice commands, which the Amazon Echo can’t.
8. Calling Ability of the Speakers
Another important feature that these smart home speakers provide is that of communication. Through both of these devices one can call or text one’s contacts through voice commands alone.
Furthermore, the Amazon Echo has a drop-in feature that lets one tune into the conversation in any other echo around the house, that is connected to the same user. Google on the other hand has a Broadcast feature that allows one to broadcast recorded messages throughout the house.
9. Voice Quality of the Speakers
It is widely accepted over the tech reviewers around the internet that Google Home has a better voice quality in calls and broadcasting than the Amazon Echo. It is considered to be better and more convenient to that of even smartphone calls.
10. Special Features of the Speakers
As with any other gadget, these devices have certain cool skills and added quirks that make them all the more attractive to a user. An example of such skill is that one can set up routines with the Amazon Echo has a Skills Blueprints Portal, where one can make or add new skills to the device apart from using the readily available ones. The Google Home on the other hand has a Google Duplex feature that can make calls on one’s behalf.
Thus, while the Amazon Echo towers over the Google Home in terms of price, design, built, smart home interface, and skill, the Google Home has an advantage in assistant, search engine, voice quality, and music and video streaming options. Overall, it can be concluded that whether one chooses an Amazon Echo or Google Home completely depends on the particular needs of a person.