Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) used to be a novelty but have become a normal part of life. People are now used to utilizing Siri, Cortana, and other IPAs to set reminders, send messages to their loved ones, and search for shops, restaurants, and other business establishments. Now, homeowners are ready to enter another chapter of the digital world: using personal assistants that are specially designed for the home.
Two of the biggest contenders in this field are Google Home (which has the Google Assistant inside it) and Amazon’s Echo (which is powered by the Alexa digital assistant). People usually have trouble choosing between them since they’re both from big-name companies and have similar features. Because of this, we’ve compared these two models and see how they measure up to each other.
Echo and Google Home are both wireless speakers, but they don’t look anything alike. The former is a tall, cylindrical speaker, while the latter is shaped like a tabletop air freshener, humidifier, or essential oil diffuser. Google Home comes with a customizable base, which means you can swap it with another color to suit your interior design.
Smart Home Controls
Google Home is partnered with Nest, IFTTT, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and of course Chromecast devices. This is already a decent set of partnerships, but Amazon Echo takes things a step further. It can connect with products from the companies mentioned above (except for Chromecast) as well as with those from Wink, Lifx, Ecobee, Belkin WeMo, Insteon, and many other devices. This means that that Echo gives you the flexibility to choose which smart devices you’d like to install in your home.
Both Echo and Google Home can act as your personal DJ. Just say “Alexa” or “OK Google” then state the songs, genre, or playlist you want to listen to, and both wireless speakers will deliver. You can group several Home devices together so they play the same song from different rooms, or you can pair Echo with the Amazon Echo Dot to do the same thing.
Many people hesitate to use Echo and Google Home because of the privacy issues they raise. After all, these devices have always-on microphones, which means that household conversations can be recorded by Amazon and Google. However, there are certain processes in place to ensure user safety; the microphones, for instance, only start to record when you say “Alexa” or “Google Home”, and you have the option to mute them. Amazon assures users that they encrypt sensitive information, while Google states that they use the latest technology to encrypt all communication and protect their device’s system software.
Google has not opened Home to third-party developers, so its app options are fairly limited as of now. Amazon Echo wins this round since it allows you to connect to a selection of useful apps like Twitter, Uber, and even Domino’s Pizza.
Google Home costs $130, while Echo is priced at $180. The $50 difference between these two models isn’t really surprising considering that Echo has more tricks up its sleeve, but it can be a deal breaker if you’re on a tight budget and are looking for the cheaper option.
Amazon Echo and Google Home both have benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important to weigh these to choose the right device. If you want to have access to a wide range of apps and smart home devices, you won’t go wrong with Echo. If you have a limited budget and just want to give home IPAs a try, you can look into Google Home.