In two years, Amazon has sold over 4 million units of its smart speaker, Echo. The Echo is powered by Alexa, Amazon’s artificial intelligence voice technology service capable of ordering users an Uber or controlling other smart devices via “skills.” Since Echo’s launch in November 2014, Alexa has added over 1,000 new skills from its original 14 (more than a seven-fold increase) from third-party developers, partners, and publishers including Patron, Bloomberg, and Fitbit enabling its users to track workouts, receive news briefs, and receive answers from search queries.
Google was not pleased. As the ubiquitous search engine, Google launched its smart speaker contender “Google Home” on November 4, 2016 at $129 significantly undercutting Echo’s $180 (though Amazon has begun more aggressive pricing tactics) to ensure market dominance of all search and discovery processes across devices.
At present, Echo (including its extendable option, Echo Dot, and transactions made from these smart speakers), has netted Amazon over $1.3B in revenue (nearly a 2.5X increase from 2015) and is slated to reach $11B in the next four years. According to R&R Market Research, sales of smart speakers will increase nearly 40% in the next four years driven largely by smart home technology. As is the case with most new tech devices and services, data privacy is becoming a concern and remains an issue with both Google and Amazon’s offerings.
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Hardware and services aside, Google and Amazon’s smart speakers may differ most in their mobile apps, Amazon Alexa vs. the Google Home app (previously the Google Cast app). As the former name suggests, Google’s app is built to integrate with Chromecast (an additional $35) to allow the user to stream entertainment controlled by Google’s smart speaker to connected devices. For a further breakdown of Google and Amazon’s latest smart speakers (across major specs, voice control, sound and music, and much more), see the following infographic from influencer marketing company, Mediakix:
Google Home vs. Amazon Echo