The New Personal Assistants: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo
Google Home and Amazon Echo are the personal assistants you’ve been waiting for, but which is better? Amazon has a head start and strong partnerships with other smart home companies, but Google Home wields the power of Google’s AI and big data resources.
The price of both devices is a major consideration. The Amazon Echo is the pricier of the two, with a list price of $179.99. It’s worth noting that Amazon periodically offers sales, payment plans, and other means that make it easier to get an Echo into your house. You can get the Echo in black or white. The Amazon Echo Dot, a smaller version of Amazon Echo, releases in March at a much lower cost of list price of $49.99. (Again, the price you find it for may vary from that.) Meanwhile, Google Home lists at $129.99, which is cheaper than the full-fledged Echo, but pricier than the Echo Dot. You can grab it at Walmart or Target, or any number of online retailers. (Unsurprisingly, it’s not easy to find on Amazon, and they don’t seem to sell it firsthand.)
The commercials for Amazon Echo showcase it performing a wide variety of tasks. It can order a pizza, arrange an Uber pickup, play games, and much more. The Echo also has the ability to stream a huge variety of apps including Amazon Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn. Amazon is always updating the Echo device to perform more tasks. The Echo is also extremely good at listening. An array of seven microphones and noise cancellation technology means it can hear your voice even when it’s playing loud music for you.
That said, Google can hold its own. Home can also stream music from Pandora, TuneIn, and Spotify, but also Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Since YouTube is owned by Google, it’s not integrated into the Echo, and it’s an enormous resource for obscure music. Like Amazon Echo, Google Home can answer questions for you, but it’s less commerce-oriented. It’s also stronger at following conversations. If you introduce a topic, you can use pronouns instead of having to name the topic every time you ask a question.
Other things you can do with your Google Home include casting to your TV with Chromecast, launching and controlling YouTube or Netflix, and syncing playback to multiple devices. You can start listening or watching a program at home and continue wherever you go.
Everyone wants a personal assistant that can help them with menial tasks, and both of these devices can do just that. However, they operate quite differently based on your day-to-day tasks. Amazon Echo is great to add items to a non-Google calendar, make shopping or to-do lists, check flight statuses, and track packages.
Google Home has the benefit of syncing with all other Google applications including Google Calendar. If you schedule a meeting on your phone, Google Home can sync and remind you. Additionally, it can search Google, get personalized daily briefings, check traffic, make shopping or to-do lists, check flight statuses, and track packages.
Your phone isn’t the only thing that can be smart nowadays. People can add technology to their house to control lights, cooking devices, and so much more without moving. Amazon Echo and Google Home have both partnered with many smart home companies so that you can control your home with the power of your voice. But all in all, the Echo has far more partnerships than Google Home to give you more opportunities for a smart home.
Google Home has partnerships with Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, Belkin WeMo, Honeywell, and IFTTT. Amazon Echo also has partnerships with all of those companies. But they are also partnered with Ecobee, Wink, Insteon, Lifx, Control4, Creston, and many more. Of course, partnerships can be added regularly, so this information could very quickly change for both devices as they battle to win customers.
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