Amazon's Echo is making its first moves into the office
Nov 04 2016 by Elias Hubbard
FILE - In this October 4, 2016 file photo, the new Google Pixel phone is displayed next to a Google Home smart speaker, left, following a product event in San Francisco.
Google's bid to take over your connected home has finally arrived.
The new $130 digital home assistant and speaker from Google, and rival to Amazon's Echo, can tell me the time, the weather, and how fast it will take to get to work, but when it stumbles it's often spectacular. While Gebhart praised Google Home's Assistant as a whole, he lamented its lack of support for multiple family members, and called it less versatile than Amazon'sEcho. The retail giant's efforts to expand its line of Echo-inspired speakers are self-explanatory, which resulted in the launch of two of its other smart-speakers, Tap and Dot.
The similarity between the devices demands a direct comparison.
In its review, CNET gave Google Home a 7.9 out of 10, concluding that while it "shows a ton of potential, it's now not as versatile or useful as Amazon's Echo". I now spend my days barking commands at Alexa, the virtual assistant - and generally speaking, she answers back without giving me any shit.
Amazon's solution to this was to create and publish over 100 short video spots that show people having a moment with Alexa, the name of the Echo's brain.
Just give them both a pop quiz to see. Google wants the Home to be the access point to all of its intelligence and services in your home, the thing you turn to when you need a question answered or need something done and don't have a phone or other screen in front of you.
Packaging is rather simple for the Echo Dot 2 with an image to the right and some examples of what Alexa can do listed to the left.
"It's worth noting that everything that makes Google Home great will also creep the hell out of people". First and foremost, the Home is customizable.
"Alexa truly is the brain of our home and it would feel like 100 steps backwards to get through a day without her", Wise said. Ask Echo about the Cubs, and you'll hear the score.
Google's expertise in areas like search, transportation, and translation clearly help make Home better at answering questions related to those topics.
The big problem with voice control-one that will likely persist for all of us who didn't grow up with it-is that basic question: What can I say?
I casually mentioned the Home's impending arrival to my wife last night while watching what ended up being a marathon 10-inning Game 7 finale to the World Series.
In each case you're presented with whatever Alexa finds on Amazon, before being offered the choice to buy it. And since the Echo supports HomeKit devices, I'm going to stick with that for now.
Beyond the basics, its real strength is seamlessly syncing with all the Google services you normally use.
That said, Amazon's Echo can do a wider variety of tasks.
But while the Echo carved out an early success, it remains to be seen whether voice-recognition smart speakers will truly break into the mainstream. You can buy optional alternative bases, which colors means you can customize the speaker to better match its environment in your home. It is cheaper than the Amazon Echo; it is available at the cost of $180. Being an Amazon device, it's also helpful for adding items to your shopping cart, handy when you're running periously low on paper towels or ketchup. Home's smarts are powered by the AI Google has developed by harvesting untold galaxies of data over the years. This extends to Google Home as well, writes Steve Kovach of Business Insider. It also never asks for a clarification if I trip over a word or speak too fast. Even then, Home keeps thinking I'm requesting a song that doesn't exist. But it's hard to recommend it over Amazon's Echo at this point, which offers a wider feature set.
But when I asked Google Home, in four different ways, to give me the latest election polls, it answered "Sorry, I can't help with that yet, but my team's helping me learn", the device's go-to excuse.
The speakers are more powerful when they coordinate with your other devices.