In today’s article we will not only be comparing which company has a better assistant, but also which company produces a better speaker. The contenders in this battle are Google Assistant vs. Amazon Alexa, and Google Home vs. Amazon Echo. We will be comparing both companies on factors such as intelligence, price, integration, quality and availability.
As more smart technology is introduced it is being brought further into the spotlight. It has garnered a lot of interest in the general public but has also caused a lot of confusion. Technophobia (the fear of technology) is on the rise so we’re here to give you the best information available on the leading smart assistants in today’s market.
The difference in digital assistants
Alexa is the smart software from Amazon that you use on their smart speakers, such as Echo and Dot. This assistant entered the market in November 2014, while Google only came with its own assistant in 2016. Those two years gave a huge advantage to Amazon across North America as they were able to build their network of supported devices and companies ahead of Google. Alexa works based on learned 'skills', that is specific software to communicate with apps from other companies to make it more possible. You activate this digital assistant by starting a sentence with 'Alexa'.
Google Assistant is the smart software you use when you communicate with your Google Home speaker or your Android phone. You can activate the assistant by pressing a physical button or by the voice command 'Hey Google'. The Google Assistant was introduced in the United States in 2016 and was opened to third party developers in December of that year; allowing other companies to make their software available for the Google Assistant. A few months later, it became possible for third parties to expand their hardware with the Google Assistant.
The best assistant
There have been many studies to determine which of the digital assistants is smarter. According to the latest research, the Google Assistant is smarter, it understands what you mean better and offers you more relevant answers. Amazon Alexa improves itself and learns faster, through the thousands of learned skills that are continuously being updated and improved (more on this later).
The difference in smart speakers
The most common way to use your smart assistant is with a smart speaker. The smart assistant is therefore the software that runs on the smart speakers, the hardware. For example, in North America, a third of all households have a smart speaker and, according to research, the Amazon Echo has a market share of around 50 percent worldwide.
Amazon has the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo Plus and the Amazon Echo Show (with touch screen). Google introduced the Google Home, Google Home Mini, the Google Home Max and the Google Home Hub (a speaker with touch screen). The dimensions and specifications do not differ much from each other and the comparable devices can be very similar.
Therefore, it is difficult to name the overall best speaker company as there are a number of different types in different price ranges. Each price category has advantages and disadvantages but these depend entirely on what you intend to use the speaker for. The speakers in the cheaper price ranges, such as the Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini, do not have such a good sound quality compared to the more expensive options, but you probably do not use them for that. These smaller devices are mainly used to control other devices with your voice.
The more expensive options of Google and Amazon also do not differ much in terms of functionality, with Google's products being slightly cheaper than Amazon's. This can be justified on their bigger products due to the screen of the Amazon Echo Show being larger and having better sound quality than its Google counterpart.
They both have a solution to make devices smart. The Amazon Echo Input can be connected to any speaker to make this speaker smart by adding Alexa. For Goole you can use Chromecast to make speakers or televisions smart and therefore control from a distance.
Search or shop
If you want to use these smart speakers to look up something, then you better choose the Google Home. If you prefer shopping, choose the Amazon Echo. After all, Google is the #1 search engine whilst Amazon has its roots in retail.
So, who wins Google Home vs. Amazon Echo? Opinions are divided about this, if you follow the tech blogs. Ultimately, it's all about what you want to do with it and how it fits into your ecosystem of smart devices at home, your smart home.
The difference in your smart home
The choice between Amazon or Google for your smart home comes down to what you are used to and what devices you have already bought or intend to buy. It is wise to do proper research and planning before making new purchases of smart devices to see whether they support Google or Amazon.
Number of supported smart devices
The head-start that Amazon had over Google is evident from the amount of skills. During the IFA in Berlin (September 2018) it became known that there are more than 50,000 Alexa skills working on more than 20,000 devices - increasing from 4,000 at the start of 2018 (Techzine). Google Assistant works on more than 10,000 smart home devices from more than 1,000 suppliers - doubling from 5,000 since May 2018.
If you already use a lot of different Google services (such as Gmail and Google calendar), you would be better off choosing a Google Home speaker and the Google Assistant. The integration between those Google services is seamless and the Google Assistant is excellent at understanding what you say. It also works well with the smart thermostats and cameras from Nest - a subsidiary of Google.
Although Google has a lot to catch up on, it is rapidly increasing the number of compatible smart devices and is fully committed to the ease of use by seamlessly running that integration. Amazon is fully committed to producing multiple Amazon devices that support Alexa, including clocks and microwave ovens.
You can compare the choice between Google and Amazon with the purchase of a car. It does not matter whether you opt for Audi or Mercedes, because both cars are decent, bring you from A to B in a high level of comfort. Mercedes seemed to have a lead for years, but Audi has clearly caught up. We advise you to consider what is most important to you, how you want to use the devices, what devices you already have and what you plan for in the future, so that you know that it will integrate seamlessly.
Whatever you choose, there is no right or wrong. It is not a choice between the device or the assistant, but how well it fits into your life. Google works simpler, but Amazon works broader through the support of multiple vendors. In the end they both work to make your life easier and better.