Why Amazon Echo Should Fear Google Home
What's the Google Home?
Google Home and Google Home Mini are direct competitors to the Amazon Echo, the Echo Dot, and other Amazon Alexa enabled products.
The devices function as wired, Bluetooth speakers that deliver similar far-field voice capabilities, smart home controls, search queries, and musical playback as the Echo.
Each device is priced competitively too and it includes:
- Google Home - $129.99
- Google Home Mini - $49.99
- Amazon Echo - $99.99
- Echo Dot - $49.99
However Google's plan to challenge and steal the spotlight from the Echo could come quickly with a framework of software and hardware the company has developed.
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 innovations 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
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:
- Potential integration with Google WiFi routers
- New customized designs and speakers (Google Home Max)
- Artificial Intelligence
The Echo recently added multi-room support but it lacks certain hardware products that Google has.
The mesh network or Google WiFi connects your home seamlessly to the internet and the company may expand its Home capabilities to their routers, which already satisfy a need in the home.
Google Home also offers customized, multi-color bases that you can switch out with more speaker options like the Google Home Max to target Amazon's Echo products. 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 more third party apps, 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 has 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
Amazon Alexa is still dumber than Google!
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, however; she has been steadily improving and is expected to get a major intelligence update soon.
But for now 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.
To partially alleviate this problem, you can enable "follow-up" mode in the app's settings so you won't have to say Alexa over and over again (great for smart home commands).
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 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"
Unlike Alexa, Google owns the search engine platform and the "Google 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 "Assistant" can understand the context of your queries 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
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 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, Daydream, 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 their 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.
Google Leads in Innovation
Google has consistently been an innovator because they know how to make our lives better. For example, their Waymo self driving car project is well on its way to changing our world forever.
Ten years from now they'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.