Home technology systems continue to evolve, getting smarter and smarter as developers learn what consumers want from their products says WIRED's Tim Moynihan. The Amazon Echo, which uses personal assistant Alexa to answer to a home owners every need, is about two years old. Google Home recently hit the market and proved to be an Amazon Echo rival almost immediately.
Moynihan presents some advantages of each system in this review:
Google Home’s Advantages
Does a better job with crowd noise: In an unscientific test that annoyed my neighbors, I played loud audio of crowd noise in the same room as a Google Home speaker and an Amazon Echo Dot. Then, I tried using voice commands with both speakers. The Google Home unit didn’t have a problem picking my voice up over the din, while the Echo Dot only heard me once out of five tries.
Chromecast controls: There are Alexa voice controls built into the Fire TV Stick and box remotes, but you can’t bark commands to a tabletop Echo or Dot to play things on TV. (At least not yet.) During the setup process, Google Home recognizes if you have a Chromecast or Cast-capable TV in the house, and you can play YouTube videos on TV by asking the speaker.
A better app: One of the drawbacks of the Echo’s more-developed skill set is that the Alexa app has to cover a lot of bases. As a result, the Alexa app can be confusing to navigate, and its dull white-on-black color scheme doesn’t help much. The Google Home app, where you can tinker with options, set your preferences, and see a feed of all your requests, is a much more lively companion.
Alexa’s Superior Smarts
Handles multiple accounts: Another possible deal breaker for multi-user homes is that Google Home only supports a single account.
You can order things on Amazon Prime: Both Google Home and Amazon Echo will give you recipes for meatloaf and mashed potatoes, and both will convert measurements on the fly, but only one of them will place an order on Amazon Prime when you run out of Worcester sauce.
Cheaper entry point: While the full-size Echo costs $50 more than Google Home, you can get the Alexa experience in the $50 Echo Dot and the $40 Fire TV Stick.