At its recent I/O 2016 even Google introduced what it is calling “Google Home” an always on and listening virtual personal assistant. That is a direct challenge to what is already the market leader in Amazon Echo. While both virtual assistants can perform do similar things as it currently stands echo has the lead, but Google has promised that one day, very soon Google home will be able to do things that Amazon Echo could only dream of!
However, before I have to choose, which one I think is better, let’s take a look at the devices in some more detail and then I will make a decision.
Is Google Home Smarter than Echo?
Google’s search abilities are as it currently stands what Google Home relies on and because of this it will probably seem to be a smarter assistant than Echo. Especially when basic tasks like internet searches and looking up weather and traffic information is concerned.
However, the fact that Echo has been around for sometime means that Amazon have been able to generate some good relationships with third-party services. And this means that, Echo has the ability to order you take out and turn up the heating in your home via your internet connected thermostat.
So Google Home and its success will largely depend on if Google can come up with similar third-party partnerships and find developers that can create new tasks for it.
What about Conversational voice Commands?
At the Google I/O developer conference a child was tasked with asking Google Home a set of three questions in succession.
“How many stars are in the galaxy?”
“Which one is closest?”
“Show me what it looks like on the TV.”
The device surprisingly managed to pick up on the context of the first question and as such was able to answer the second. And as far as the third, Google Home searched for and displayed an image of the closest star system on a TV using a Chromecast streamer. So it appears that the qualities of Google’s system are extremely advanced, and could give Google Home a large advantage over Amazon Echo.
For voice commands sent to the Echo, there is Alexa, the personal assistant. If you were to ask it a question such as “Echo turn down the temperature” it will ask me to clarify the command, and ask me “Which Thermostat?”. However, unlike Google Home, Echo can play games such as Jeopardy and is able to interact with questions and answers, which almost feel conversational.
However, Alexa, will not be able to recognize anything that is beyond the range of its pre-programmed responses. And also is not able to recognize or respond to questions outside of its already programmed commands.
For all of the appeal that Google Home has, it does have one major drawback: The fact that it does not exist yet, well not in the form that you could own any way. The closest you can come to own it at the moment is to sign up to email updates.
However, based on what I know at this moment in time, Google Home looks like it could compete with Amazon Echo in an entertainment sense and as a personal assistant. But, by the time it is available for the home Echo will have surely advanced more, and Google now could be forever playing catch-up!