Voice Wars: The Assistant Awakens
There is a new galactic battle in the virtual assistant wars now that Google Home has arrived. You have Amazon’s Princess “Alexa” (who looks more like Darth Vader, tall and all black) vs the mighty Google Empire (a cute little R2D2 looking Google Home).
Since Amazon has a big head start with the launch of Alexa a few years ago and has been written about extensively I will focus on the Google Home with just a few early observations. The Price is very competitive $129 (Amazon Alexa goes for $179 and the Amazon Dot $49).
It comes beautifully boxed, almost like a bottle of good Champagne.
The overall look to the Google Home will fit in easily with any décor and has interchangeable base colors and sort of looks like a vase.
The set up with the Google app was very easy and only took a few minutes with tones letting you know it is connected. Like the Echo you need to awaken the beast with specific words “OK GOOGLE”. Voice recognition was good, certainly better than Siri, but I do think Alexa wins that battle so far. Where I think Google Home wins is the frame of reference battle by accessing Googles vast universe of knowledge. It’s amazing how much Google Home knows and what is a very cool plus is that you can ask follow up questions.
Music - like Alexa, Home has the usual music services like Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn and each device has its own music service - Amazon Prime for Alexa and Google Play for Home. In the battle for sound supremacy I give the nod to Alexa with better volume and clarity.
Smart Home control for Home at this time is limited and therefore that battle is currently dominated by Alexa which has thousands of Apps on its side but that can change as Home is catching up fast with Phillips Hue, Nest, SmartThings and other Tech giants coming on board. I did test Google and Alexa with the Philips Hue Light we have in our office and while both did turn the light on and off and dim the light, only the Google Home lets you change colors by voice.
That’s it for now “May the Voice be with you”.