Amazon Echo vs. Google Home: The choice is obvious

On the surface, it may seem like a difficult choice between Alexa and Google Home, but once you look at them from a practical perspective, the choice becomes clear.

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Victrola Music Thinkstock

Listening to music

Amazon Echo supports several free and paid music services including Amazon Music, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Audible. Amazon Music is enabled by default and you will need to enable other services in order to access them from Echo.

Google Home also supports a wide range of free and paid music services including YouTube (free and Red), Spotify, Pandora, Tunein and Google Music.

YouTube is the undisputed leader in music, it has a massive collection of online content that Amazon can’t beat. Amazon doesn’t offer YouTube integration with Alexa, so you simply cannot access those songs. Initially I thought Amazon would match YouTube, but I was wrong.

We lived in Germany for a few years and we love European music. Recently my wife threw a party and guests wanted to play some old German songs. When I asked Alexa to play some old German music, she failed to understand and said, “I can’t find German songs”.

When I asked Google Home to play some old German songs, it started playing “Lizzi Waldmüller - Du hast Glück bei den Frauen Bel Ami 1930” from YouTube.

I was utterly disappointed when I asked Alexa to play some Thanksgiving songs and she said, “I can’t find Thanksgiving songs.” Google Home immediately started playing a Thanksgiving Radio Mix from YouTube.

Things were worse on the Alexa side when I wanted to play Indian music. Alexa just failed to either understand the question or find the song. Interestingly, Amazon Music has all those songs, but Alexa is not smart enough to understand and process the information.

It’s not just music from different languages, it can’t even perform basic searches. When I asked Alexa to play the Celine Dion song from the movie Titanic, it started playing the soundtrack instead of playing her song. It seemed Alexa just picked the keywords and really didn’t understand the natural language. On the contrary, Google Home immediately started playing ‘My heart will go on”...

Google makes things really exciting for music lovers. It can play songs that you don’t even know. At the SUSECon 16 party, we were talking about their parody of the Maroon 5 song and my friend told me about a song Peter Levine sang for a new movie. I had forgotten the name of the movie and the name of the song, all I knew was that Maroon 5 performed in a movie recently. And that’s exactly what I asked Google: “Hey Google, can you play the song Maroon 5 played in that movie.” It was a vague question, but Google Home surprised me and started playing “Lost Stars” by Peter Levine. That’s the song I was looking for. Amazing.  Alexa, as you know by now cannot do that.

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