Amazon Echo and Google Home are the best bluetooth speakers and home assistants on the market. They can both play music, answer our questions and interact with other apps, making our home environment more productive and easier to manage. But our question is, which ones does it better?
Amazon Alexa, the savvy virtual assistant and the voice of Amazon Echo, was launched almost two years ago. It marked a new era in the world of technology - instead of limiting the interaction to a screen (through touchscreen or keyboard), from now on interaction was possible through just the voice.
The younger Google Home was launched in October, 2016.
At their core, both devices are marketed as smart speakers, but they are so much more. Both Echo and Google Home feature advanced machine learning and voice processing technologies. They can learn to predict better through increased use. Both of them are in “always listen mode”, which means, that we can start interacting with the device as soon as we use the wake word.
Amazon Echo supports several free and paid music services including Amazon Music, Prime Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify Premium, Pandora, TuneIn, iHeartRadio and Audible. Amazon doesn’t offer YouTube integration with Alexa, which is quite unfortunate, as YouTube is the largest free music player out there.
Amazon Echo can pair with bluetooth speakers and headphones.
Google Home supports YouTube, Spotify, Pandora, Tunein and Google Music. Unlike Amazon Echo, Google Home can’t pair with bluetooth speakers or headphones. It can’t be used as a speaker for other devices. However, you can stream music to other devices and speakers through Chromecast Audio.
While Alexa can’t play movies or TV shows, you can do that with Google Home. All you need to do is plug in a $35 Chromecast (you will need to purchase it separately) to your TV and start playing movies and TV shows through Google Home.
Naturally, Amazon Echo is geared towards getting more people to buy stuff from Amazon.com and so Alexa won’t be able to check different prices and read reviews. Alexa also won’t be able to understand natural language and context.
On the other hand, Google offers the world’s best machine learning and artificial capabilities. This means, that anything that can be answered by Google, is game for Google Home as well.
Both devices are configured to listen all the time, which can be a privacy concern. Fortunately, both devices come with physical buttons that can disable the microphones from listening. On Google Home you can also tell it to stop listening and it will disable the microphones - Alexa can't do that.
Price and Range
Amazon Echo is the flagship product, with high-quality speakers and sturdy, reliable design. Retail price: $179.
Amazon Echo Tap, is the battery powered Echo, that is ideal bluetooth speakers for those on the move. Retail $129.
Amazon Echo Dot, the youngest and the smallest of the Echo family retails at just $49 - It’s a smaller version (the size of a hockey put) of Echo with 3.5mm port for plugging in speakers.
Google Home comes in one size only and retails at $129.