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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Where Google Home excels

Google has the world’s best machine learning and artificial capabilities that beat the Go world champion Lee Sedol. Google has invested immense resources its neural network. Amazon, despite its two year head start with Amazon Echo, is no match to Google. Amazon is primarily an online retailer and public cloud provider, they want to sell more products. On the other hand, Google’s mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. No wonder Google does a much better job at that with Google Home.

Unlike Amazon Echo, Google Home can’t pair with bluetooth speakers or headphones. It can’t be used as speakers for other devices. However, you can use Chromecast Audio to stream music to different speakers. That’s where Google shines. If you have multiple rooms, you can set-up speakers with Chromecast Audio in each room. Now you can play music in specific rooms by telling Google Home to play music on that Chromecast device.

While Alexa can’t play movies or TV shows, you can do that with Google Home, just plug in a $35 Chromecast to your TV and start playing movies and TV shows through Google Home.

However I do wish Google Home offered Bluetooth connectivity so that I could listen to music on my headphones, something I do while working in my home office without disturbing my family.

Google Home comes with a capacitive touch top. You can tap on it to pause and resume music. You can rotate your finger on it to increase/decrease volume. On Echo, you get 4 physical buttons and a light rim. There is no button to pause or play music.

They are more than smart speakers

Although both devices are popularly called ‘smart speakers’, I won’t discount them as mere speakers. Both devices have the capability to interact with other devices, appliances and home automation systems to control them. You can control lights around your house and office, the garage door, the thermostat..and it’s just the beginning.

Amazon offers APIs for Alexa that allow third party developers to integrate their apps, services and hardware with Alexa. Google Home currently doesn’t offer any APIs, but I am expecting that just like Chromecast they will start offering APIs for third party developers and hardware makers.

Both Amazon Echo and Google Home offer capabilities to manage your calendars and shopping lists. While Amazon Echo relies on third party applications and services to offer such features, Google owns many such services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Hangouts, SMS, Google Voice, Google Maps and Google Keep.

Soon, Google Home may have the capability to read and respond to your email, Hangout chats and SMS. It may even integrate Google Voice to receive and make phone calls from Google Home.

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