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Why Amazon Echo Should Fear Google Home

Updated on December 3, 2016
Chriswillman90 profile image

Krzysztof is a lifelong future tech junkie investigating the latest stories from companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.

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What's Google Home?

The Google Home Voice Assistant

Google Home is a direct competitor to the Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and other Amazon Alexa enabled products.

The device functions as a wired, Bluetooth speaker that delivers similar far-field voice capabilities, smart home control, search queries, and musical playback as the Echo.

It'll also attempt to challenge and steal the spotlight from the Echo by besting the originator in several categories.

Currently the Amazon Echo is ahead of the game particularly as a smart home hub due to its immense control of connected products, but Google's invention may have a lot more to give.

So what can Google offer that Amazon's Alexa can't?

A lot more than you'd think...

Google Home vs. Amazon Echo

Google vs. Amazon

The Amazon Echo has tons of third party integration and it responds to your voice very well, but it's going to lack several features that the Google Home won't including:

  • Multi-room support using multiple devices
  • Customized design
  • Artificial Intelligence

The Echo lacks multi-room support and although the Echo Dot can cannot to personal speakers, you can't have multiple devices communicating with one another.

On the other hand, Google Home can collaborate with its Chromecast audio devices (linked to speakers) and have them sync together for a full surround sound experience.

Google Home also offers customized, multi-color bases that you can switch out, and the overall smaller design looks a lot nicer than the tall, cylindrical Echo. Additionally, Google has years of advanced AI experience with a slew of data collected over the years.

However Google needs a lot of third party help and smart home company support. They do have popular products like Nest in their circle, but they need to integrate quickly to catch up.

If Google can figure out a way to integrate third party apps like 1-800-Flowers or Uber, then they'll rapidly speed towards Amazon Alexa's smart home ecosystem.

The bottom line is that Amazon is not an inherent tech company like Google, which could be a major disadvantage long term. Google knows future tech and Amazon has dabbled and failed in the past (fire phone), so they are new to this.

The e-commerce monster been very fortunate with the Echo, but being lucky doesn't mean they'll be able to sustain their dominance. If a better product comes around, then Amazon and the Echo will have to step aside.

And that day may come sooner than later because of one significant problem Alexa has struggled with since its arrival on November 6, 2014.

Amazon Alexa's Major Flaw

Why Can't Amazon Alexa Defeat Google Now?

Amazon Alexa is dumb!

That's right the famous home assistant is a simpleton with a very limited range of intelligence.

Her lack of intelligence has always been her biggest flaw, and the Google Home assistant makes that a lot more noticeable.

Alexa responds to very specific phrases and doesn't understand context. You can't ask her multiple questions on the same topic because she doesn't know what the previous topic was.

It's very annoying hearing "Sorry, I can't find the answer to the question I heard" over and over again.

So Amazon managed to create one of the most responsive voice assistants we've ever seen and they've integrated Alexa with numerous developers and companies that can control your smart home, but they missed the most important attribute....intelligence.

It's very frustrating that the Echo can't answer the most basic questions, and it takes the device down several notches unless you have several smart devices linked to her.

If Amazon doesn't update her AI, then she'll be outclassed by the Google Home in less than a year.

Powerful "Google Assistant"

Source

Advanced Search Engine

Unlike Alexa, Google owns the search engine platform and the "Google Now" voice assistant is by far the smartest of the bunch but it's about to get even smarter.

The company has revamped its famous search assistant by incorporating deep learning into the AI bot.

What will that mean exactly?

It means that the new "Google Assistant" can understand the context of your query and do more than answer simple questions. It can book flights, appointments, make travel or restaurant arrangements, and provide full access to calendars, to-do lists, and much more.

Google wants to adapt to your needs and answer you accordingly, which will be very important to the Google Home's success in the long run.

Imagine taking the smartest voice assistant, making it even smarter, incorporating seamless voice recognition, and putting all that into an always on unit in your home.

If successful, it will truly feel like having a natural conversation will an AI device that wants to make your life a lot easier to manage. I realize Google hasn't always hit home-runs but when they get it right, they really get it right.

But wait a second...

Apple has been an innovator for years, so why does it get so much flack when Google has made similar mistakes?

Simple, no other company has pushed its ideas further than the "Big G".

Google Is the Best Tech Company

Google's Daydream View VR Headset
Google's Daydream View VR Headset | Source

The Leader in Technology

Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple are incredibly advanced tech companies, but they aren't Google.

Google knows how to take an idea and maximize its potential for all to witness.

Even it's past mistakes like Google Glass have done something we haven't seen before and are now partially responsible for the augmented/virtual reality transformation we're seeing today.

The "Glass" device itself is also making a comeback as a health tool for those with autism and other social or psychological disorders. Time.com even placed the product in the "Top 50 tech gadgets" of all time, and that was one of their biggest flops.

Meanwhile Google has also been responsible for the massive Android smartphone market, its Google Play store, Google Cardboard, and a plethora of other discoveries and innovations.

And yes other companies may have beat them to the punch, but they have failed to do the one thing that the search engine giant hasn't...

Bring its products to the masses!

There are reasons why Google dominates search engines, the smartphone market, and soon, the smartwatch category. They know how to create technology that anyone can use at a price that won't get you slaughtered by your spouse.

They are the tech leader whether you like it or not.

Leader in Innovation

Google Leads in Innovation

Google has consistently been an innovator because they know how to make our lives better. For example, their self driving car project is well on its way to changing our world forever.

Ten years from now we'll likely reduce deaths in the millions and make our commute faster, safer, and a lot more convenient, but that's always been the status quo of this tech beast.

Even with virtual reality, Google was the one that brought it to the public with its very affordable Cardboard item. So although Oculus and the HTC Vive have far more advanced virtual reality platforms, they will not be able to reach as many people as Google.

I'm excited to see how the virtual reality platform will evolve over the next few years, and I wouldn't be surprised if Facebook and HTC fall behind. They may have the superior software and hardware but it doesn't matter if nobody can purchase their product.

It's this combination of personal consideration and innovation that truly makes Google stand out from the pack, and it's what will drive (no pun intended) the next decade of futuristic ideas.

Your Turn

Better Product: Amazon Echo or Google Home

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    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 12 months ago from Canada

      I never really think of Amazon as being a tech company, so I learned a lot reading this. Obviously for this technology to work the way it should, a certain amount of intelligence needs to be programmed in.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 12 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Amazon and Facebook are trying to become tech companies but the jury is out on either of them. I'm glad I could help and it who knows if thing will work they way they expect them too. I watched Google I/O and their demos were impressive, but of course a demo is very different from reality.

    • profile image

      Magnus 9 months ago

      Amazon is presently the only dog in the show and they are doing a amazing job of failing.

      There have been no major updates in ages you can't do basic things like check your email or connect to most online accounts.

      You can't stream to other devices so they come out with the dot which has the very same wifi/bluetooth chipset as the echo and only differs by a output jack and lack of speaker.

      Its not available outside the US which makes little sense since there demand and no real competing products.

      When home comes out its going to be able to link to chromecasts out of the box have a more robust support and actually feedback from google itself.

      Amazon feedback is basically nill and people have no idea whats in the works or any reason to be excited.

      They may seem to be doing good now but are actively destroying their own product by a near totally lack of active support and putting out the dot assuming people where to stupid to notice they were getting suckered.

      It may have been different if one could order the dot but it required a person to already have the echo which was just a slap in owners faces.

      Amazon could still save things but they are very rapidly running out of time to do so.

      There in real danger of having a if only product on their hands through their own inaction and greed.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
      Author

      Krzysztof Willman 9 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I am surprised at the lack of major updates thus far. The product is mainly highlighting past skills and things the Echo can already produce. I'm not seeing a lot of progress with Amazon Alexa beyond skill integration, which can easily become overwhelming. They praise the thousands of new skills added on but only a few make a difference.

      One positive is that more competition does fuel innovation, and Amazon will have to push the needle forward otherwise newer platforms will leap ahead of them.

    • profile image

      Ritesh 7 months ago

      Facebook and Amazon not real tech companies? You must be kidding right? Every company you mentioned are amazing at engineering and technology. Amazon has the best cloud computing system.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 7 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      What I meant was that they didn't inherently start as tech companies the way a Google did but that has changed dramatically over the past few years. I do think they are right up there with the Google and Apples of the world.

    • profile image

      John 5 months ago

      I think this article massively underestimates the power of Amazon as a technology company. Amazon Web Services underpins is a technology platform that underpins a huge amount of internet today, far more than the equivalent platforms from Microsoft and Google combined. Also the Alexa platform is far more open than the Home platform - the very fact you can add skills is something that Home doesn't have today, leaving the capability of the platform open to your imagination. they have also made available a huge number of complementary platforms to help developers use it like, Lex. Google is welcome competition for sure, but they have a lot of work ahead to catch up.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 5 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      I completely agree about Amazon Web Services or AWS for short. They recently had their own conference that'll further expand their Cloud technologies which will bleed into the Alexa platform. I think Amazon's willingness to work with other parties is a testament to Bezos and the corporate leaders because very few top companies are that open. I love Amazon and their products so I'm not downgrading them by any means. I'm specifically talking about one product and its future versus Google's vision. I trust in Google's ability to collect data and their experience in AI, that's why I think they'll eventually flourish with Home. Other areas like smart home partners are a lot more iffy.

    • Timothy Regan profile image

      Timothy Regan 4 months ago

      I think that if google fails to integrate with other parts of existing home eco systems it's doomed. First and foremost it can't (won't) interface with networked DNLA devices. The "industry" has been working to get DNLA as the accepted method to share Audio/Video within the "home" echo system - AND Google ignores this. Most home NAS servers are there to support Music, Video and Images; Google Home, today, is blind to this - in my mind a HUGE oversight. I want to use Google home to ask to hear a specific song, album or group, and have it played from my home server (or from Google Play) but it cannot do this (without a premium Google Play account - which still does not seem to work 80% of the time). Traditional Music libraries are organized this way, and Google refuses to recognise this - a poor decision - one that my $39 echo handles with ease. I like using Chromecast to integrate my whole house, but without getting to my TB's of stored media, it crippled. And I don't see what there is not more users complaining (which they may be by avoiding/returning Google Home devices after trying them).

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 4 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Great points all around that I think a lot of users should be mindful of. I do find that my Echo Dot handles audio way better than the Home but not surprised given how it was originally designed for that function. The Home has the data and knowledge but it has a long way to go before it can catch up to the Echo. I don't know how well it'll be able to integrate and become the center around its Google ecosystem. The company just recently did this with their smartphone Pixel device so they're very new to this. I wouldn't say the device is doomed though because there's a lot of time to move to the standards you've described and the product is still fresh.

      I'd give them a full year to see what happens before bestowing a verdict on their smart speaker.

    • profile image

      Mike 4 months ago

      Echo is already ubiquitous and has the better mic array and, with Dot, has the better form factor. So Amazon wins the hardware race from the get-go.

      Amazon's head start gives Echo a "deep bench" of skills.

      Google's intelligence will ultimately overtake Echo... IF Google gets rid of "ok google" and allows you to NAME THE THING. I was doing tablet-based voice interactivity for the past two years, and my wife wouldn't participate just because of that 'okgoogle' phrase. Now with Alexa, the wife is fully onboard.

      Yes, of such inane things are success or failure made.

      Google is the tech giant. Are they smart enough to grasp that the form factor and the catchphrase are what can possibly keep them stuck behind Echo?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 4 months ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      That's a good assessment especially the "Ok Google" mention. People love to personalize items and they definitely feel a more custom made presence with Alexa versus Google. This will continue even if Google gets super smart and builds thousands of its own skills via developers. Amazon has a huge head start and they will only progress further knowing other companies are trying to cash in. I'm very curious to see what the next Echo device will be officially. That could end up being another huge success like the Dot this holiday season.

    • profile image

      Alex 4 weeks ago

      Is the echo dot like Alexa?

    • Chriswillman90 profile image
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      Krzysztof Willman 4 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      All Echo products use the Alexa voice assistant

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