Editor’s Note: This article was updated in October 2018 to reflect the new Amazon Devices.
Are you in the market for a smart speaker? Not sure which one to get? When it comes to Google and Amazon’s smart speakers, many people don’t know which one to choose. Well, if you can, the answer is both! Okay, that’s too simple. Read on if you have to have to decide which digital assistant to buy.
What they both have
Both smart assistants have the same basic functionality. They are digital assistants that respond to voice commands. You can ask them both questions about
- General trivia (When did man land on the moon? When was the war of 1812? 🙂 ).
- Informational questions (What will the weather be like tomorrow? What time do the Yankees play today?
The companion apps that come with these assistants often provide additional information to help with your request?
You can also ask both assistants to do things like:
- Set an alarm or timer.
- Play music from third-party services, or even from your computer or mobile device.
- Sync music across multiple devices.
- Make phone calls.
- Read audiobooks.
- Play games.
- Give you a recipe for a meal.
- Check your bank account balance
- Too many things to list!
Both assistants also serve as potential voice controlled hubs for smart devices around your house, allowing them to control lights, garage door openers, appliances, security systems, HVAC, and… the list goes on. Google Home and Echo continually add new features and integrations.
Why you should buy an Amazon’s Echo (Alexa)
But you need to make a decision. You should buy an echo if…
- You’re deep in Amazon’s ecosystem. You use Audible. Amazon prime is your life and you want to shop with your smart assistant. Amazon Music is your streaming service (can’t do that with a Google Home), own FireTV devices. The Echo integrates seamlessly with other Amazon services and devices.
- You want the most integrations. Alexa has been around longer and has more integrations (skills) with other systems than Google does.
- You want to use them as a home intercom. Alexa has a “drop-in” feature that allows you to conference with other Echos. Google home does not yet have this feature.
- You want more choices. The variety of speakers powered by Alexa (Sonos One, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Echo Tap, Echo Plus, Echo Auto, Echo Input, etc.) greatly outnumbers your Google Assistant powered smart speaker choices.
- You have Alexa in your car. It is good to have the same Alexa experience on the go as in your home.
- You want to use HA Bridge. Unfortunately, this home automation bridge no longer works with Google Assistant.
- You believe Amazon will have the better product in the end. They were first to market. They made people buy something they weren’t even looking for. You think they will remain the leaders.
- Google Duplex creeps you out!
Why you should buy a Google Home (Google Assistant)
For some people, a Google Home is better. You should buy a Google Home if…
- You’re deep into Google’s ecosystem. You are loyal to Android phones. Google Assistant is built into Android phones. You listen to Google Play or Youtube music (can’t do that on an Echo). You own a Chromecast. Google Assistant integrates seamlessly with all of these.
- You have a car with Android Auto. Google assistant is part of Android Auto and allows your car experience to be similar to your Google Home experience. You can even control the same devices from your car!
- You want to send broadcast messages throughout your home. Google Home has the ability to allow users to broadcast messages to all their Google Home units using by typing in a message or using your voice with Google Assistant. Echo can’t do that yet.
- You want better answers to your questions. Google Assistant is much better at answering complicated questions, and in general, can answer more questions and gives better answers. Google is better at understanding and parsing conversational language.
- You believe Google will have the better product in the end. They were second to market but have caught up fast. This seems more like a technology Google where would be better than Amazon. Google is synonymous with artificial intelligence.
- You think Google Duplex is the future!
In the end, the right assistant for you comes down to your preferences and other devices in your life. I have both, although, for the most part, I prefer the Google home. It parses my questions and commands better, gives better answers, and I have Android Auto in my car and use Google Play Music as my primary streaming service. I use the broadcast feature often. That said, I can control more of my smart home devices with my Echo, especially with HA-bridge. I also like the drop in feature.
There are also a few differences depending on which version of each device you get. Make sure to look into the following features if they are important to you before purchasing:
- Bluetooth speaker pairing
- Sound quality
- 3.5mm cord
- Type of power adapter
Still can’t make a choice? You can always take this quiz and see if that helps. Although it adds the further complication of the Apple HomePod to the choices. Good luck!
You can check out my Buyer’s Guide to see which models I recommend.
Do you prefer the Google Home or the Echo Dot? Let us know in the comments!
Editor’s note: This page contains some affiliate links. For more information read our disclosures.