I have two Echos and two Google Home devices.
First off, I think they are both fantastic devices. Your biggest loss is not getting either.
Echo has many more 3rd party integrations at present, and has better support for some of my IOT devices and Audiobooks. Also, the Echo has Bluetooth, which is lacking on the Home, and I sometimes miss that.
There are two use cases for which the Echo is better for me:
- Most IOT integrations: Echo is great in terms of having support for lots of home automation devices. Lights, thermostats, Wifi switches, you name it, itâ€™s probably supported by the Echo. Even some of my really old WiFi power plugs were supported.
- Great Audible integration: I have about a dozen Audiobooks, and Iâ€™m continually buying more. The Audible integration on Echo is truly excellent – you can say â€œread my last bookâ€, you can specify specific books, you can specify certain chapters, you can pause and ask questions about what you are reading. If you are into Audiobooks, the Echo is fantastic.
That said, if I had to pick one, Home was the standout winner for me for three reasons:
- Better media story: $10 for no YouTube Ads + music streaming is the best deal for me. I love YouTube Music. Music I listen to on YouTube is the most accurate reflection of music that I listen to. YouTube Red and YouTube Music are fantastic value for money for $10 to have no ads plus have access to a music service that works across both a visual format plus an audio only. When I tell Home to play music vs. telling Alexa to play music, there is a world of difference in just how well they understand me. I know people who swear by other streaming services, so the answer might be different for them. Both of them support other music services like Spotify, but I havenâ€™t used Spotify on either so your mileage may vary.
- Far better query coverage: I like asking all sorts of long tail questions, the kind of questions I would have typed into a Google search query. This is where Google Home is without parallel. Alexa doesnâ€™t really understand the internet anywhere near as well as Home, and if you ask it some kind of question like â€œWhy did World War 2 start?â€ or â€œHow did Putin come into power?â€ or â€œWhat was Carrie Fisherâ€™s cause of death?â€ Alexa suffers from the same fundamental flaw as Siri does: if you canâ€™t really tap into one of its curated wall gardens of data sources, it responds with a generic â€œsorryâ€. The Home does this too, though itâ€™s far rarer for it to do so. In some cases, Iâ€™ve even had Home read out an answer that was summarized from Quora.
- Better voice recognition: The Home has much better voice recognition for me. I have one Home in the bathroom and an Echo by my nightstand. When Iâ€™m in bed, and even given that my bathroom door is partially closed and my head is buried in a blanket, if I have to count on one device to recognize me, itâ€™s Home. Voice recognition quality is the front door of voice-activated speaker and even the slightest of changes in quality in terms of which one understands you better makes a huge difference. As other answers have noted, â€œAlexaâ€ is more natural to say, though in addition to â€œOkay Googleâ€, Home also supports â€œHey Googleâ€ which is easier to utter.
So most of the time, Iâ€™ll use Home, though Iâ€™ll fall back to talking to my Echo for my older devices for home automation or audiobooks. Go try out both of them and pick whichever one is better for your needs, though whatever you do, definitely get one of them.
Itâ€™s very early days in this space and I canâ€™t wait to see how both of these devices will evolve over time, and in 10 years or so, itâ€™s going to be totally normal to have all sorts of conversations with devices around us.
Disclaimer: I work at Google but donâ€™t work on Google Home, and donâ€™t write this in any official capacity for Googleâ€”merely as someone who has used both devices and likes them both. The views I express are not made on behalf of my employer.
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