Both Amazon Echo and Google Home have earned their place at the top of the smart home hierarchy, but which one should you buy?
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Amazon released the Echo back in 2014 and has since become the company’s most popular hardware product. However, Google has since taken a liking to Google Home, a direct competitor to the Echo that aims to rule at the top level. Here are some of the differences and similarities between these two home helpers.
Google home page is more aware
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but when it comes to random questions about all sorts of facts, Google Home comes out on top thanks to the Google Knowledge Graph.
That’s not to say the Amazon Echo is completely stupid, but in our testing, there were a few questions that Google Home was able to answer while Alexa simply answered, «Sorry, I don’t know the answer to your question.
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For example, Alexa was unable to answer questions such as «What is the average age of a person?» (By the way, 71 years old) but Google Home was able to give me the answer right away.
However, Alexa was able to do better in some areas, such as when I asked both devices, “How many films did Tom Hanks make?” Alexa was able to find the answer (83 films) and Google Home just simply named a few films that Hanks made.
Google Home can also recall the previous question, which is helpful. So if you ask «Who played Woody in Toy Story?» Google Home will answer «Tom Hanks» and then you can answer «How old is he?» and Google Home will say his age even if you don’t pointed it out directly. say «Tom Hanks». Alexa can’t do it.
All in all, Alexa knows a few things, but Google knows more.
Echo is Better for SmartHome Users — Now
Amazon Echo has been around for a long time, so it has created an arsenal of supported SmartHome devices, including products from Nest, Philips, SmartThings, Belkin, Wink, Insteon and many more. The Google home page also supports most of the big players, but its full list is not that extensive.
However, both devices integrate with IFTTT, allowing them to connect to many different products and services that are not otherwise supported. It’s not as slick as native integration, but it does make Google Home less sensitive in the SmartHome arena.
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So if you’re going to be using your virtual home assistant to control your entire smart home (which some say is what makes these things so great), then you’ll probably want to get an Amazon Echo — at least until Google The house gets more support for more devices. Just don’t buy the Echo Plus for his smart home because it’s not that good.
In any case, you can view the full list of supported Smart Home devices on Google Home, as well as the Echo list.
Both have great taste in music.
By default, Echo uses Amazon Prime Music and Google Home uses Google Play Music, which are great sources for streaming tunes. The biggest difference is how many songs each service has in its catalog. There are only about two million songs available on Amazon Prime Music, while Google Play Music has 35 million songs. However, you will find the most popular songs on both services.
However, Amazon Music Unlimited is a new service from the company that boasts «tens of millions of songs». Even if you are a Prime member, you still have to shell out a monthly payment for it. In addition, both Prime Music and Google Play Music require monthly payments, and the smaller Prime Music library is included with Amazon Prime for $99 per year.
Aside from the default settings, both Echo and Home can link to your Spotify or Pandora accounts, so if you connect to one of those music providers, it’s not a problem.
Google Home has slightly better physical controls
Both Echo and Google Home come with a small set of controls on the device itself that let you turn the volume up and down and mute the microphone. However, the Google Home control interface lets you do a little more.
Echo contains buttons that you press to increase or decrease the volume, mute the speaker, or activate and deactivate Alexa. That’s all.
In Google Home, the entire top surface is a touchpad and uses finger gestures to control everything, which is easy to understand. With it, you can play or pause music, adjust the volume, and activate Google Home to start listening. However, the microphone mute button is on the back of the device, which is a bit inconvenient for it.
All in all, it really depends on which type of control you prefer: touchpad lovers will like the Google Home more, and tactile button lovers will like the Echo.
Both allow you to stream video content to their respective streaming sticks
Although Google Home is lacking in the smart home category, one feature that makes it stand out was its ability to cast video content to a Chromecast when you said something like, «Hey Google, play cat videos on YouTube.» However, Amazon has caught up.
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Echo can stream video content to a Fire TV device just like a Google Home can stream to a Chromecast. However, the big downside of the Fire TV is that YouTube is not supported, which is one of the largest video streaming services on the web.
With that said, Google Home has a weaker lead in this particular battle, but hopefully Amazon can boost it up in the near future.
Amazon Echo integrates with value-added services
Much like the smarthome support that every device has, Google Home lacks support for shared services a bit, but there’s a lot you can do in the Echo.
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With Google Home, you can request sports scores, news, and even request an Uber, but the Echo can do all this and more, including having Alexa read your tweet aloud and even walk you through a 7-minute workout. , all thanks to third-party Alexa Skills that you can download.
Of course, Google Home will probably add a lot more of these features in the future, but for now, the Echo is taking over for the random things it can do.
Both can recognize individual voices
Chances are you have multiple people living in your home, which means multiple people use Amazon Echo or Google Home. Both devices have multi-account support and they can tell exactly who they are talking to.
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This makes it easier to receive information that only applies to you. So instead of saying something like «What’s on Craig’s calendar for today?» (Which would be weird if I said my name) Instead, you can just say «What’s on my calendar for today?». Dom & Echo recognizes your distinctive voice and name from upcoming events that are on your calendar and no one else.
Google Home Let’s Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts
One of the features I’ve been eager to use in the virtual voice assistant is shortcuts, which are shortened voice commands that can replace longer voice commands. Google Home allows you to do just that.
In other words, you can set it up so that instead of saying «Hey Google, dim the living room lights by 25%», you can just say «Hey Google, dim the lights.»
Echo doesn’t let you do that, but hopefully Amazon will take it up a notch and add this functionality to Alexa at some point.
New echoes have audio ports
The full-size Echo and Google Home both come with decent speakers that sound pretty good — certainly not as good as a dedicated speaker system, but good enough to keep the volume up decent while you’re walking around the house.
However, if you have an Echo Dot or some newer Echos, you can connect external speakers to them, as long as the connected stereo has an auxiliary jack. You can also connect your echo to a bluetooth speaker.
Google Home maybe connect to external speakers, but a separate Chromecast audio device is required, and unfortunately this is the only way to do it.
Echo has improved support for messages and calls
Both the Echo and Google Home can make calls and messaging, but the Echo does it a little better.
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Of course, both devices can call a phone number directly from the device itself, which is pretty cool. But an Echo can also call another Echo device, whether it be one of your other Echoes in your house (called Drop In in this case), or a friend’s Echo that lives across the country.
In addition, you can send voice messages to other Echo users, while Home does not currently support messaging at all.
Google Home does One thing the Echo can’t do in this case is you can broadcast the message to all the other home devices in your house, but it will use Google Assistant’s voice and not your own.
When Google Home first came out, a full-size Echo was still $180, allowing Google to cut Amazon’s $50 and Home $130. However, things are much more competitive now.
The full-size Echo now costs just $100 (thanks to the release of the 2nd generation), while the Google Home is still $130. However, both companies sell their smaller versions (Google Home Mini and Echo Dot) for $50.
It will be interesting to see if Google lowers the Home’s permanent price to $100 to match the full-size Echo, but that’s obviously speculation for another day.
There are other little things, of course. For example, «OK Google» doesn’t quite roll off the tongue like «Alexa» does, which means more than you might think.
In the end though, both options are really good and it depends on what you will be using it for and how much you should be using it. Echo is better for integrating into SmartHome and has slightly better speakers, and it integrates with a lot of different services via third-party Alexa Skills, but Google Home’s extensive search knowledge will probably never touch Amazon.