Along with the premiere of their new not-but-kinda-iPhone Pixel smartphones on Tuesday, the Alphabet‘s largest company debuted their connected home rival to the popular Amazon Echo, appropriately dubbed Google Home.
Like the Pixel, one of Google Home’s most powerful features is the new Google Assistant AI, which has only been previewed as a beta version thus far to users of the company’s recently-released Allo chat app. Like Alexa does for Echo owners, Google Assistant is there to answer questions, sure; but the company’s vision for this interface is far-reaching, including providing recommendations based on conversations, machine learning, and pattern recognition. Though it is yet to be seen if the Google Assistant can live up to these expectations (again, the AI is in beta through Allo), if Google can succeed, there will be a clear differentiator between Home and Amazon Echo.
Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: The Stats
At $129, Google Home starts with a $50 price advantage over the Amazon Echo—however, there’s pros & cons to each to take note of if you’re going back and forth between the two. For starters, as mentioned, the Google Assistant is, so far, rather untested; it will likely go through some growing pains, and if you’re looking for something that’s going to be polished out-of-the-box, Amazon Echo is likely a better short-term choice.
Both devices work with Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings, and Alphabet’s own Nest lines of products. The same goes for Spotify & Pandora; Google Home obviously connects with Google Play, and, via Chromecast, also can play YouTube videos on your television. Amazon offers similar endemic services, such as Prime Music and Amazon Music.
Where the two really differ are their unique product offerings, aside from the conversational nature of Google Assistant (theoretically) vs. Alexa’s question/answer design. Amazon Echo has eCommerce built-in: need paper towels? Ask Alexa to order you some. Outside of just Amazon Prime purchases, Echo is integrated with Uber, Stubhub, and even Dominos, for pizza ordering on-demand. While this could certainly change, Google Home’s primary backbone is search: finding deals on paper towels or pizza might be its forte, just don’t expect it to order either for you.
If style is a concern for you, note that Google Home does come in seven different interchangeable base colors (the device itself is all white). Amazon Echo, on the other hand, comes in either black or white.
For those sold on the new Google Home, you can pre-order the device here. Already own a Google Home and looking for troubleshooting tips for your new smart device? Check out this handy guide by our friends at Joy of Android.