Skip to main content

Amazon Echo v Google Home - Family Review



With Christmas just around the corner, my inbox and messenger have started to fill up with messages from friends and family - not to wish me well, but instead to ask me which personal/home assistant device they should purchase.

With both Google and Amazon reducing the price of these devices for Black Friday it seems that everyone is getting on the bandwagon.

Having had both Google Home and Amazon Echo for a while I thought it was about time I came off the fence and give my recommendation, but then I realized that there are hundreds of technical reviews out there already, so instead, I've decided to ask my family which device they prefer and why. 

So here it is, the Lees' family review of both the Google Home (and mini) and Amazon Echo. But before we begin let me quickly introduce the family. My wife, Lianne and I have two kids, Molly who is 15 and Harry 10. We have several Smart TV's, Chromecast devices and even a Chromebit. The house is also full of IoT devices from Philips Hue bulbs, Nest alarms, and an Internet heating system. We use Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google Play for our music and films. OK, so we're a bit geeky.

Look & Feel

Being the teen of the house, Molly has strong opinions on how things should look and feel. Unfortunately, Molly felt that the Amazon Echo was too "functional looking", ugly in fact and relegated the device to the kitchen tucked away in a corner. She loves, however, the design of the Google Home and the Google Home mini, which takes pride of place in her bedroom while the Google Home is in the family room. 

Features and Functionality

Both devices main function in our house is music, and both perform extremely well here. The only issue I'd say we have is with Amazon Echo not always finding the right track and often playing a sample from Amazon Music. When asking Alexa to play music from Spotify you have to be very specific, "Alexa play Hello by Adele on Spotify", and if your track name is too long Alexa often comes back unable to locate the track even before you've finished asking. Google, on the other hand, is brilliant, you don't need to specify you're using Spotify simply ask for the track or playlist and you're away.

And this is really where the true difference between Alexa and Google is. Alexa seems to only be capable of understanding fairly basic commands. By contrast, Google is conversational and feels much more natural, and this is noticed more by the kids who talk to Google Home while they actually shout at Alexa.

So when asked which they prefer both Harry and Molly definitely prefer their Google Home minis, especially as Google recently added "broadcast" allowing Google Home devices to broadcast messages around the house.

However, there are some features that they can only use the Amazon Echo, specifically "Alexa Fart" (thanks Harry) and other such "skills" as well as being able to call their grandparents Amazon Echo device. 

Final Verdict

It's a close run thing and as I've already said it really depends on what you want your device to do. Google is miles smarter than the Echo, and interaction with Google's Assistant feels much more natural. It is able to answer fairly complex questions and is great for helping with homework. On the other hand, Echo has a lot of skills, and some really fun games and apps, this makes the Echo feel much more useful. So sorry, but we can't decide, the kids love their Google Home, but Lianne and I find the Echo more useful and can forgive it for being a little dumber than Google. 

What's coming next?

But wait, there's more. Amazon is ahead of the competition as they launch a series of new Alexa powered devices.
  • The Echo Show, which enables video calling. (But don't play Netflix or YouTube)
  • The Echo Look, which is intended for fashionistas.
  • The Echo Spot, which is like a really fancy alarm clock.
  • The Amazon Tap,  aka portable Echo.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

GDPR Compliance - The Sky Is Falling

Over the past few months, I've been speaking to more and more business owners about their concerns regarding GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which becomes law on 25th May 2018.

The concerns appear to come from misinformation and fake news over GDPR. There are the scaremongers, reporting on the increase fines that an organisation could face. While it's true GDPR has increased the levels of fines to 2% of an organisation’s global turnover, and for more severe incidents €20 million or 4% of turnover, whichever is the larger, it's unlikely that fines will rocket. Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner for the UK, stated in a recent blog,

it’s scaremongering to suggest that we’ll be making early examples of organisations for minor infringements or that maximum fines will become the norm. Denham continued to say that; "The ICO’s commitment to guiding, advising and educating organisations about how to comply with the law will not change under the GDPR. We h…

Google's 2018 Gmail update

This week Google announced "Smart Compose" for Gmail, a Machine Learning powered autocomplete feature for your email. Based on how you generally respond to emails Smart Compose will suggest complete sentences while you type.



Like most Gmail updates Smart Compose will come to consumers first and is expected to be rolled out over the next few weeks, those using Gmail as part of G Suite will have to wait a few months.

This update comes hot on the heels of a massive overhaul, which brought a plethora of UI improvements and security features. So now that the excitement is over let's take a closer look at the recent updates.
UI Improvements & Efficiencies  The first thing you'll notice from the Gmail update is the new Material Design inspired user interface, including some new design components such as the rounded menu items. While the design is clearly different, it still feels very familiar. The new design is packed with subtle features to help you do more. These inc…

How to rob a bank with phishing and malware

OK, I know I keep going on about email phishing, but unfortunately, it's on the increase. Last year Google Research produced a report in which they identified that 12.4 million individuals have potentially been the victim of phishing with over 1.9 billion usernames and passwords readily available on the blackmarket. To help combat phishing and other security attacks Google recently released updates to it's G Suite, GCP and Chrome Enterprise products. These updates include more proactive phishing and malware detection using Machine Learning.

As an example of how cybercriminals are using phishing attacks here is an infographic and article from Europol on how the cybercriminals responsible for the Carbanak and Cobalt malware attacks targetted over 100 financial institutes and stole over 1 billion euros!

The attacks all started with simple spear phishing emails sent to bank employees. These emails, impersonated legitimate companies and customers of the bank, had malicious malware …
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...