Google Home is coming.
Later this year, the Amazon Echo will get even more competition with the release of Google Home. Google is a trusted name, and when you are second to the market, you can address and fix the pain points that people have with the first-to-market product. But will Amazon Echo’s time already spent in the ring save it from getting KOed? Here’s an overview of the two devices and how they compare:
- Voice Control: Yup, both devices not only support voice control, but rely on it
Size: Google Home will be smaller – able to be held in the palm of an adult’s hand – they the cylinder of the Echo. Does this mean it doesn’t have as much power as the Echo?
- Assistant: Echo uses Alexa, an assistant that we know and love (well, most people love). No name has been released yet for Google’s Assistant – what do you think it should be named?
- Abilities: Both devices will be able to play music and answer general questions. They can both also do some advanced tasks – depending on the device. This will be the category that makes some Alexa people, and makes others Google Assistant people.
- Price: We know that the Echo costs $179, but we don’t know what the Google Home will cost yet. Echo also has a portable version for $129, and a mini-version for $89.
The Google device will use Google to power its searching, answer questions, and manage personal schedules like flight check ins and reservation changes. Amazon uses a lot of third party apps to fuel most of its features, but it still has some functions, like weather, that can be activated with a simple voice inquiry.
Both devices will be able to connect to other smart home devices, so that lights and other appliances can be controlled by voice. I’m interested to see if some of the support for products and apps starts to be exclusive. The Echo currently supports Uber, but not Lyft. Will both eventually be available on each device, or will Uber remain exclusive to Amazon while Lyft is available on Google? This is just one example, but you get my point. The Echo also currently supports voice shopping on Amazon so I wonder if Amazon would allow that feature from other devices.
Overall, it sounds like these devices will be pretty similar. It’s going to be a personal choice for buyers, and it’s nice to see that there will be a choice soon. Since the Echo is the biggest player right now, it’s hard to even keep the devices in stock. They are often backordered immediately after release, and several times throughout the year as well, especially during the holidays when people are looking to get them the most. It will be interesting to see how Google Home’s availability impacts Amazon’s stock. Maybe the Echo will have stock available if people start shopping other devices, or maybe Amazon will up their production so that they keep the item in stock in order to better compete with Google.
What do you think – are you going to try out Google Home when it’s released?
Photo by: Google Home
*This article has been updated. It previously identified the Google Assistant as “Cortana” which is in fact the name of Microsoft’s assistant.