From a cost, look and home automation standpoint, there is little difference but a more in-depth look shows a disparity in philosophy and growth.
Home Automation: What Is It and What Will Google Home and Amazon Echo Do for Me?
Home automation is the wireless, keyboardless computerization of your home. Each one has a voice assistant (Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa) that carries out the tasks of the smart speaker reacting to the sound of your voice.
What Do They Do?
When breaking down Google Home vs Amazon Echo, it is important to know these products are built to do similar things: play your music, entertain or educate your kids or you, control your smart appliances, safeguard your house, among many other things.
Is There a Price Difference?
Google Home and Amazon Echo are in lockstep in price both currently listed at $99. When one drops the price, the other follows so this shouldn’t be a consideration, a quick search will let you know before you place your order.
So, What ARE the Differences Between the Two?
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Talent vs. Skills
Your decision comes down to preference while performing similar tasks, the approaches are vastly different. One way to look at it is how you search for a product on Amazon vs. searching for information on Google.
Amazon voice assistant Alexa is prepared for particular commands that are part of the platform. You continually add “skills” to Alexa but through the parameters of Amazon. For example, by merely saying, “Alexa, enable Easy Meal Ideas skill,” you will have meal ideas from Amazon. You can add these skills through the Alexa app.
Google Home relies on its comprehensive knowledge to get you to where you want to go. For the Google Home, think about your search terms on google.com. We are so used to the intuitive nature of Google responding to a wide variety of search terms that even a vague search will get you the information you seek. Google Home searches its vast database, in the same way to give you the answers or knowledge you seek. Whereas Echo has “skills,” Home performs “actions” that do not need to be installed and are ready to go right out of the box. For instance, if you have a compatible TV say “Hey Google” or “OK Google, turn on Living Room TV.”
Starting Your Smart Home
Almost any product you buy these days is adaptable to a smart home. A quick scan of the package is going to alert you to this fact. Amazon Echo is compatible with more smart devices but Google Home has more potential in the future and is considered more intelligent by many.
Amazon Echo can connect to 60,000 compatible devices while Google Home can connect to 30,000. However, keep in mind that in October of 2018, Google Home could connect to only 10,000 devices.
Is There Much of a Difference in Sound Quality?
Reviews for both generally give similar marks to the sound production of the two and both are linkable to outside speakers such as Sonos, Phillips and others. One advantage of Amazon Echo is the inclusion of the input jack. They both support playback in multiple rooms meaning you can connect to your other Amazon or Google home smart speaker devices.
How Do They Look?
With its odd shape, the 5.62-inch Google Home brings a Star Trek look to your table (or counter). In the original sci-fi movies of the ’50s, a trick used to make objects appear futuristic was to tweak the form so they looked like something never seen before. I think Google Home pulls this off with its rounded base and slanted top. It comes in attractive Brown, Black, Coral, and Gray colors.
The Amazon Echo is a 5.8-inch cylinder, about the size of a can of cheese balls. It is attractive but perhaps not futuristic in a deliberate way? I only say that because the color names are classic and natural-sounding: Sandstone fabric, Walnut finish and Oak finish. They also come in the Charcoal fabric and Heather Gray fabric. My thought is that they are designed to blend into your space.
A Bilingual Twist
One interesting tidbit that could affect individual homes is that Google Home can react to a bilingual household. If people are speaking both languages at once, it will be able to comprehend.
Amazon Echo is unable to do this. There is a Spanish mode but it will not understand English in this setting and vice versa when in English mode.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: What Are You Most Invested In?
A significant consideration is whether Google is more prevalent in your home or Amazon. If you are an Amazon Prime member and regularly stock up on items via Amazon, the Echo will make sense. Whereas, if you do shopping outside of Amazon or use Google’s Android platform, Google Home is the way to go.
Twins with Different Personalities
Amazon Echo and Google Home are the twins with different personalities. One (Home) is creative, has a higher ceiling, is more intuitive. The other (Echo) is straightforward, practical and consistent once it has attained a particular set of skills. Amazon and Google will seemingly be matching improvements along the way.