Google Home vs Amazon Echo
As Google have just announced that their AI device, the Google Home, is coming to the UK let’s take a look at what the two devices have to offer.
First off, let’s look at the price. Google Home is rumoured to be meeting the UK with a £129 price tag on its head. As opposed to the Amazon Echo’s £150 standing price, whether or not this will change in the weeks following the Google Home’s release remains to be seen.
So the Home is cheaper, which is great. But what do both devices give you for your money?
The voiced activated Amazon Echo is an AI system called Alexa. It can access the internet and provide music on specific or vague request, it can tell you the weather, where a nearby shop to get flowers is, how far the drive is from London to Edinburgh and for any smarthome owners she can even turn your lights off from the comfort of your bed. Alexa is basically an automated personal encyclopaedia of knowledge… provided there’s Wi-Fi.
Not only does Alexa take musical requests but it also has a built in speaker with which to play them. The speaker is reasonable and great for in room background music, however if you plan on buying the Echo as a sound system, look elsewhere.
The Echo isn’t wireless and must be connected to the mains power supply to function. Though its counterpart, the Echo Dot, fills in this void being much lighter. The Echo Dot is also designed to connect to any Wi-Fi hotspots as you travel around.
Both come with a mute option for anyone that fears the device is eavesdropping, and this is located on the top, very clearly, and in between the many responsive microphones.
Alexa is a brilliantly clever AI device that shows the leaps and bounds AI technology has come on, even since the first introduction of Siri.
So what does the Home have to offer in competition?
The google home has a subtle design, almost fitting in as a scented air dispenser and so makes finding a location for the device easy. It also comes in a variety of colours making it easy to find your personal favourite that matches the style of the room it will live in.
The fantastic thing about the Google Home is the name behind the device, ‘Google’. Google are known as the largest and most active search engine globally and so knowing the device has the vast and in-depth knowledge google already has is very reassuring to those with a lot of questions.
Google has also teamed up with the BBC, Guardian, Telegraph, Sky News, Sky Sports and other news providers to ensure that news is easily accessed based upon your location.
Once given permission, the Google Home can scan emails, calendars, files and more and can therefore remind the user of an upcoming birthday or newly received email.
Google will also release the device with another quirk, Google Wi-Fi, a small router that can increase wireless capability in the home. The two can be purchased as a bundle at a discounted price, as opposed to separately, upon release.
So, what’s alike with the two devices?
Similarly to the Echo, Google Home has far reaching sound detection and is awakened by the classic ‘Ok, Google’ – for anyone with a Google Pixel device, this is as second nature to them as ‘Hey Siri’ is to an Apple user.
Also similarly to the Echo, the device shows LED lights, in Google primary colours, to show the device is picking up sound. Just as the Echo shows the LED blue ring in the same way.
This device also has a mute button for the microphone and also have volume buttons for the sound system, all located on the top. Again, similarly to the Echo.
Google Home has similar features to the Echo in that it can play music upon request, read a news story answer a question and adjust elements of a smarthome. The Google Home, when unveiled, did also show the ability to connect to Google’s Chromecast through voice activation and has also been seen to do the same with Netflix. Something the Echo hasn’t done.
The Google Home is lighter than the Echo, weighing just 1.05lb as opposed to the Echo’s 1.7lb. It has a variety of colours, as aforementioned, as opposed to the Echo’s standard black or white. Though these bases are charged as extra.
What’s the verdict?
It appears the two devices are very similar internally. In all honesty there aren’t any significant differences to say one trumps the other. The Echo has dominated the market being the first and only hands-free system of 2016. And so this is the first challenger it’s really seen.
There are talks of Apple and other big name manufacturers also working on their own versions of the AI hands-free devices. So perhaps when the competition becomes a little more heated we’ll see a bigger variation in the AIs’ abilities, as developers battle it out to stand out.
For now though, it really is down to the appearance and the preference in label. Would you rather a Google or Amazon device?