Smart speakers have become increasingly popular in recent years. The Google Home devices, which are based on the Google Assistant, and the Amazon Echo speakers, which work with Amazon Alexa, have prevailed. Both still have strengths and weaknesses – find out exactly what they are and which of the two systems suits you better in this article.
What is a smart speaker and what should it be able to do?
Google Home or Amazon Echo are smart speakers that have a language assistant installed. Microphones are built into the devices, allowing them to be activated with a wake-up call. Then you can ask the installed assistant questions or give commands, which are first uploaded to a cloud and analyzed there. An artificial intelligence then generates a suitable answer, which is played back by the loudspeaker and, if necessary, executed.
The basic goal of the devices is always to simplify your life. It is therefore particularly important that the devices can handle natural conversations, provide you with personal answers and work with existing devices and services. The quality of the speakers, especially the microphones, is also crucial. However, since there is now a large selection of Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, it cannot be said in general that one of the two systems would be better in this context.
Because the assistants have been on the market for a long time, both are now technically very good. This means that there is not one better language assistant, but that both can score in their own categories. In the following, we will present the advantages and disadvantages and then show you which smart speaker is best suited for whom.
In order for the most natural conversation possible with the smart speaker, it must first understand you. That depends on the quality of the built-in microphones and less on the installed voice assistants. However, there are also differences in the assistants themselves: Amazon’s Alexa sounds a bit smoother and less “robot-like”. A Google Home speaker understands the context of questions better than Amazon Echos, making it easier for you to ask questions.
Overall, Google Home devices are better at answering knowledge questions, while Amazon Echos are more accurate at answering questions about products. Alexa can also order products directly from Amazon, which is particularly useful for smaller consumables.
For many, when buying a smart speaker, it is also important that it is personal. That means you can ask questions about your calendar, to-do lists, or similar, and the answers will be tailored to your usage. In principle, both assistants are so good at it that a difference in use is hardly noticeable. However, thanks to the connection to Google Calendar, Gmail and Google Search, Google Home has a slight advantage here.
Ultimately, though, it all comes down to which productivity services you already use. If you have a Gmail account and use Google Calendar, a Google Home device is recommended. Otherwise, you can also use an Amazon Echo with your existing calendar.
Integration with existing devices
It is also important to use it with other devices that you already own. Amazon Echo speakers work particularly well with other Amazon devices like the Fire TV; You can easily use Google Home with the Google Chromecast. In both cases you can let your smart speaker play videos, films or similar on a TV.
Amazon Echos offer an advantage in terms of smart home products. While Google Home speakers can also work with major smart home brands like Phillips Hue, Samsung Smart Things, or Ikea Tradfri, Echos offer a much wider choice. If you already use smart home products, you should first check whether the device in question is compatible with the smart speaker. When in doubt, go with an Amazon Echo for a safer choice as they are compatible with more smart home devices.
Overall, it depends on which devices you already own and want to use with the smart speaker, especially in relation to multimedia products. If you already have other Amazon devices, an Amazon Echo is an advantage, and vice versa if you have a large number of Google devices.
Integration with other services
The smart speakers should also be able to work with existing providers for music, film or series streaming. This is the case with both: services like Spotify, Deezer or TuneIn work directly on the speaker and Netflix or Disney+ can be controlled with Alexa or the Google Assistant and viewed on a TV.
However, Amazon offers such as Amazon Prime Music or Prime Video only work on Amazon Echo devices; You can only find Google Play Music on the Google Home devices. Here, too, you should check which services you want to use with the device and whether they are supported before making a purchase.
With “Skills” and “Actions”, Amazon Echo and Google Home also offer thousands of small programs that have been specially created for the speakers. This allows you to access functions that would otherwise not be available with Alexa or the Google Assistant – for example other weather services, timetable information for Deutsche Bahn or radio stations.
You can see exactly which skills are available here:
Overall, there isn’t a better speaker. Instead, Amazon Echo and Google Home both have many advantages and some disadvantages – and both can certainly be recommended. You should primarily base your purchasing decision on which devices and services you already own and use, and whether these are supported by the smart speakers.
In addition, a Google Home speaker offers you more natural and personalized conversations thanks to the Google Assistant with the connection to Google’s knowledge base and services such as Gmail. With Alexa, Amazon Echo scores particularly well with better pronunciation and the connection to many smart home products and the Amazon shop.
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