Debating a Google Home vs Amazon Echo? So did we. Here’s how we ultimately decided between a Google Home or Amazon Echo. May it help guide your decision!
I like techy things.
I don’t always stay on top of the latest technology nor do we typically own such things, but when I walk through the store and see things like smart light bulbs, smart doorbells, connected clocks, smart thermostats, connected smoke detectors, and other such devices for the home I can’t help but geek out a little bit.
The two biggest factors for me to choose the Google Home over other options came down to: (1) what did I want the device for; and (2) what connected devices did I already own?
To be honest, I think this is really the best way for us to make such a decision.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo
What can you use a Google Home for in an apartment?
Living in a rented property means that, at least for the time being, it makes little sense to go full-out smart home with all the bells and whistles.
I don’t want to install a smart doorbell only to have to uninstall it when we ultimately leave this property. I don’t want to invest in expensive light bulbs when we’re on a budget as it is, and even the modern LED bulbs that I sometimes purchase are destroyed by the poor electrical craftsmanship that has held this rental property together for decades.
These things make little sense to me in the situation we currently find ourselves in, but in our future home, they may not. This means that I want to be able to grow with my smart devices which I think pretty much all of them allow you to do easily.
So then, the question remains, what would we use a smart speaker/assistant for now?
Well, in the case of the Amazon Echo, it certainly isn’t for the ease of purchasing items from Amazon.
I love Amazon and find myself there at least once a day just to check the sales. I use subscribe and save for things like vitamins, toilet paper, napkins, laundry detergent, and other household items.
Most of my Christmas and birthday shopping is done there, though I do like to support brick-and-mortars as well as local shops (we just purchased Exploding Kittens at a locally owned and run shop at a mark up of $5 over the Amazon price because I wanted to support the local game shop).
I have had Amazon Prime for years and love that we sometimes get free next day deliveries (if only our lazy USPS delivery person would get it in gear).
In short, Amazon is AWESOME. But I don’t need unfettered access to that kind of purchasing power at all times in my home.
In fact, my wife would probably prefer that I had no access to purchasing at any time (writing this post is the only way that I got to purchase the very devices I am talking about without incurring her much deserved wrath).
So the ability to make purchases easily from Amazon, at least for the time being isn’t a factor for me.
I mostly want a smart device to:
- Work with my existing connected devices (I’ll come to this in a moment)
- Allow me to shout out any demand or question and get a reasonable answer
- Connect to the services that I use to play music and entertainment.
This means that my smart speaker/assistant needs to have a powerful search engine behind it and connect with my services.
We have long left internet subscription-based entertainment like Netflix and Hulu behind, and have never paid for cable or satellite services in our homes. The only internetainment we have is Google Music which gives us Youtube Red as an additional bonus.
I listen to music at work, and like watching chess, Magic the Gathering, and educational videos on Youtube.
Well, full disclosure, I did purchase a Dot as well, but the one that checks the boxes for me is the Google Home.
Advantages of Google Home vs Amazon Echo
1. Search Engine.
I love shopping at Amazon, but I don’t think of them when I think of great search engines. Great search engines are pretty much a two horse race between Google and Bing, though I never personally use Bing, though I know Katelyn does sometimes. Advantage – Google Home
2. Connected Services.
The thing is, if all I got with Amazon Prime was Prime Videos then I would cancel my subscription as the selection is lacking (big time). When I was shopping for music services in December 2016 it was between Amazon and Google Music, and the choice really came down to the added value of Youtube Red.
While there is always a workaround, currently there is no native support for Google Music using an Echo device. On the surface, this may seem like a win for Google Home, but the reality is the Echo will connect to all the same services as the Home. Advantage – Google Home
3. Connected Assistant.
Much like the connected services, this one is too close to call. I think saying a person’s name is a fun feature the Echo offers, but in the end, it isn’t that big of a deal. Both the Google Home and the Echo offer assistants that can learn different voices and keep track of activities accordingly. Advantage – Push
At this point, the Google Home system holds the advantage solely because Google is the superior search engine and I use Google Music, but this wasn’t enough to push me one way or the other. The biggest factor for me was, what does my home and what do I already use that will connect with this device?
Does a Google Home work with devices I already have?
Full disclosure: I am writing this post at home from a PC that I built from the ground up, on a Chrome web browser. This means that I am not a Mac person, and though this might seem non-sequitur, it is really quite important. I don’t hate Macs, in fact, there are things that I really like about Apple and Apple products.
Now it should start to dawn on you why this matters.
Because I have an android cell phone, I decided a year ago that I wanted Chromecasts throughout the house because they work really well with what I already use. Chrome, Android, and Chromecast are all Google products, in case you didn’t know.
We use a Chromecast with both of our TVs and I like how they work.
It’s the law of diminishing returns. Between Smart TVs, Smart Blu-ray players, an Apple TV and two Chromecasts, what additional functionality could two more streaming sticks offer me? I am sure Amazon Fire and Roku are great, but I just preferred the universality that Chromecast offered. I already have Chromecast and Amazon’s Echo will not connect to a Chromecast or AppleTV. Advantage – Google Home
My conclusion in the Google Home vs Amazon Echo debate is that the best smart speaker or smart home assistant is Google Home.
This doesn’t mean the Echo system isn’t good (again I purchased one), but for my home, the best option is the Google Home.
So what does that mean if you are looking right now and trying to decide what choice to make?
The answer is, well, what’s important for you?
Do you care about the shopping aspect or the search engine?
If looks are important to you, the Echo might be more your thing.
However, you ultimately want the device, whatever it is, to be something that works with what you have, or be willing to buy more than just the speaker. Keep in mind that these companies are competitors and your devices and apps won’t work with the competitor’s products.
And of course, don’t think that the conversation ends with Google Home vs Amazon Echo, as the Apple HomePod is coming soon for all the Mac users out there, and despite its unoriginal name, I am sure it will be a really strong competitor.
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