Google home is googles rival to the earlier release by Amazon – amazon echo. It features some key differences and some other similarities.
Backed by google and all of the great software they provide google home looks like a promising option for the voice controlled hub of your smart home. Currently in its infancy stages however, its got some drawbacks, especially when compared to the Amazon Echo. One of these drawbacks is that it’s only available in US currently.
The built in speaker is known for being better quality than the Amazon Echo. While you are currently able to easily cast thing to devices nearby, Amazon Alexa supports bluetooth which allows you to cast music & media to nearby devices wherever you are. Some people will prefer the set and forget method of casting, however bluetooth provides the ability to move to different locations and cast media via your phone (your current location).
The most attractive aspect about this device is that its backed by the Google system. This will ideally include the ability to use all of the google services like Google maps, reminders, email, weather, and most importantly the search system. The search system can give access to many things Alexa doesn’t allow for like asking translations, weather and more in depth answers at times. Some things are yet to be developed though like asking google to set a reminder, which seems like a basic task.
However even as I write this article, Google has within the last few hours enabled access to alarms and the ability to use different google profiles from the same device. So while the device overall lacks the capabilities of Alexa, its backed by the Google team which means it will most likely evolve to a very capable product within the next year or two.
Another great feature already implemented is the recurring questions. The google home device essentially has a simple “memory” setup that allows you to ask question follow ups. For example you can ask:
“Ok Google, What is the population of Austin, Texas?”
“Ok Google, How long will it take me to drive there?”
The lights on the Google home show that it is enabled and listening, although they are sometimes hard to see in daylight. This is one area where the Amazon Alexa devices are much easier to distinguish if its listening. The device allows for customization of the colours of the mesh base. There is a number of different colour options. Some criticisms of the device are that it looks like an air freshener. Which as you can see below, are somewhat valid.
The price of the product is slightly more than the larger Amazon Echo, but less than the smaller and newer Amazon Echo Dot.
- Amazon Echo: $180 USD
- Google Home: $130 USD
- Amazon Echo Dot: $50 USD
Note: This product is available via the google website and a number of retailers (not Amazon). As it is also only available to US residents currently, it’s not listed as a product on this site. In the future when availability comes to at least all of North America, and features are more fleshed out we will add this to our products section. https://madeby.google.com/home/#buy