Competition (noun): the act of competing; rivalry for supremacy, a prize, etc. 

Today’s Matchup: Google Home vs Amazon Echo

For as far back as history goes, there has always been an innate human desire to be the best at something or to be the first to do something. The need and desire for competition has led to the use of common sayings such as “if you’re not first, you’re last” or “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Without that sense of competition, it’s unlikely that Benjamin Franklin would have been flying a kite in a thunderstorm to discover electricity or that the Wright Brothers would have been willing to actually fall out of the sky as they tried to design an fly the first airplane. This sense of competition, of rivalry, of wanting to be the best has definitely spilled over into today’s technological society as huge companies fight alongside small startups to be the best and most successful. One of the most mainstream of these rivalries is that between Google and Amazon–with their rivalry filtering down to each of their newest products, the Google Home and Amazon Echo.

Google Home vs Alexa                         Google Home vs Amazon Echo

On the left side of the ring, weighing in at 447g (1.05lbs), 3.80 inches in diameter, 5.62 inches high, and released in 2016 we have the Google Home. According to Google, the Google Home is “a powerful speaker and voice Assistant. Play your music. Call your friends. Ask it questions. Control your home. It’s your own Google, always ready to help.”

And on the right side of the ring, weighing in at 2.35lbs, 3.3 inches in diameter, 9.3 inches high, and released in 2015 we have the Amazon Echo. According to Amazon the Echo is “Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more–instantly. All you have to do is ask.”

Each of these two products are voice activated personal assistants. Essentially, you can ask them a question and they will be able to search and find the answer and speak it back to you, they can play music and make calls. They really are designed to be your personal robot assistant.

But how should you know which of these products is for you? There is so many factors that go into making and marketing these products, so we’re going to break down a few to compare the Google Home and Amazon Alexa. Also, because I’m here to help you out, I will be keeping a running tally of the score as we go through the each category.

 

Google Home vs Alexa: Speakers

So these personal assistants have a lot of fancy features but at their core, they are speakers. It would be naive to just ignore that and only focus on all of those fancy features. So without boring you with all of the nitty gritty details, the Google Home’s speakers are a little better quality. BUT, don’t go running out to buy the Google Home just yet. Amazon’s models have a 3.5mm jack that allows you to just plug your phone/iPod/other music listening device into it to be used without bluetooth or wifi. In this day and age though, better sound quality is key.

Round #1 Score:

Google Home +2 (better speaker quality)

Amazon Alexa +1 (3.5mm audio jack)

Overall Score:

Google Home: 2

Amazon Alexa: 1

 

Google Home vs Alexa: Price

The Google Home is priced at $129. The Amazon Echo is priced at $99.99. Point for Echo.

Round #2 Score:

Google Home: +0

Amazon Echo: +1

Overall Score:

Google Home: 2

Amazon Echo: 2

Google Home vs Alexa: Design

Both of these products have a fairly similar design–a tall, cylinder shape. The Amazon Echo is slightly taller while the Google Assistant is a little wider. There really isn’t that big of a difference in the actual design so it really ends up being the aesthetics that differentiate them.

The Amazon Echo base color is black and there are different skins that you can buy to change the color. The Google Home is white with a gray speaker base. With the Google Home you can buy alternate speaker colors. But for the sake of ratings–we will just focus on the look of them as they come out of the box. The Google Home blends in much better with the majority of furnishings whereas the black of the Echo sticks out a bit more. Point for Google.   

Round #3 Score:

Google Home: +1

Amazon Echo: +0

Overall Score:

Google Home: 3

Amazon Echo: 2

 

Google Home vs Alexa: Responding to Questions

There is a wide range of questions that you can ask these assistants–from super simple questions like the weather to more complicated questions such as how much of a specific ingredient you need in a recipe. The one thing that is important to point out however, is that by and large the Google Assistant can understand your general syntax better whereas the Echo works better if you use their specific programmed phrases.

Let’s take a look at the responses to certain questions:

Question: What’s the weather today?

Both tell you based upon your location what the high and low temperatures are as well as if it’s sunny, raining, snowing, sleeting, cloudy, etc.

Point for both.

Question: What is the traffic today?

The Google Home responded with any traffic jams or other issues within the zip code that you supplied during setup. The Echo was not able to immediately respond to this question but rather asked you to go to the app and add your specific commute.

Point for Google.

Question: Did the Penguins win today?

Both assistants tell you whether the team won (of course they did), what the score was, and the overall score of the series.

Point for both.

Question: What is 6×9?

Both answered immediately with the right answer–54.

Point for both.  

Question: How much does an banana weigh?

Both assistants answered this question correctly, but Google Home read a very long explanation of what someone deemed the average weight of an apple to be, while Echo just gave me a number.

Point for Echo.

Questions: How many carbohydrates are in an egg?

Google Home responded with the correct answer while Echo didn’t understand the question.

Point for Google.

Bonus Question: Tell me a joke.

Google Home Response: “How does our solar system keep it’s pants up? With an asteroid belt.”

Amazon Echo Response: “Did you hear about by Dad’s restaurant on the moon. The food is okay, but it had no atmosphere.”

No point awarded here–both terrible dad jokes.

Round #4 Score:

Google Home: +5

Amazon Echo: +4

Overall Score:

Google Home: 8

Amazon Echo: 6

 

Google Home vs Alexa: Celebrity Spokespeople

Amazon Echo recently ran a star studded commercial during the Super Bowl. This commercial featured the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Cardi B, Gordon Ramsay, Jeff Bezos, and Rebel Wilson.I’m not gonna lie, that’s a pretty gnarly lineup. But hang on just a second before we award the point to Echo. Google Home has the likes of the queen of Twitter herself, Chrissy Teigen. They also have John Legend and Sia. I’m going to deem this as a tie thanks to Chrissy and John. If you want to argue with me about this, feel free to do so in the comments.

Round #5 Score:

Google Home: +1

Amazon Echo: +1

Overall Score:

Google Home: 9

Amazon Echo: 7

 

So there you have it folks, the Google Home comes out on top. The competition between these two companies and assistants has led to the creation of two really great products. Whether you prefer Google Home vs Alexa, they will both be able to help answer your questions and make your life simpler.

 


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Tricia Surber

Technical Communication and Media Studies Graduate from Mercer University.