75 Point Comparison of Amazon Echo to Google HomeBy - 04/02/2018
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the fact that smart speakers can talk, and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa-enabled devices are leading the way. After spending two years with Echo, I started to lose my patience. She doesn’t understand me; she doesn’t hear me; she doesn’t do what I want her to do. So in a moment of desperation, and perhaps spite, I purchased Google Home. And as I mentioned in the video above, swapping to Google Home came with both pros and cons.
The Basics: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo
Starting with the basics, Amazon Echo is a smart speaker powered by Alexa. It features a mute button and volume controls on the top. However, there’s more than one Echo. There are multiple Alexa-enabled devices including the Amazon Echo (2nd generation), Echo Dot (smaller, cheaper, weaker speaker), Tap (battery powered), Echo Show (video screen), Echo Spot (smaller, cheaper version of Echo Show), and Amazon Echo Plus (better speaker, smart home hub). There are also third-party devices, like ecobee4, that include the power of Alexa.
Google Home is a smart speaker powered by Google Assistant. The speaker has a mute button on the back, a touch interface, and a swappable base. Like Echo, there are multiple versions including Google Home, Google Home Mini (smaller, cheaper, weaker speaker) and Google Home Max (expensive, better speaker). There are also third-party devices like Nest Cam IQ Indoor, a camera which will soon provide access to Google Assistant post a firmware update this winter. While you won’t be able to stream music from the camera, you will be able to ask it questions.
Finally, if you don’t want to decide between the two, there are voice agnostic options like Sonos One and Honeywell Smart Security which will both provide access to Alexa and Google Assistant. However, Honeywell Smart Security is a coming soon device and Sonos One’s Google Home integration is coming soon.
|Google Home||Google Home Mini||Amazon Echo (Gen 2)||Echo Dot||Echo Plus|
|Description||Smart speaker that balances decent audio with price.||Same features as Google Home but sacrifices audio quality.||Compared to Gen 1, Gen 2 is smaller, lacks the volume dial, has new shells and colors, smaller price tag, and a better speaker.||Same features as Echo but sacrifices audio quality.||Set up devices from Philips Hue, GE, Kwikset, and others without the need for a separate hub.|
|Speaker||360-Degree (2″ driver and dual 2″ passive radiators)||360-Degree Sound (40mm driver)||360-Degree (2.5″ woofer and 0.6″ tweeter)||360-Degree (0.6″ speaker)||360-Degree (2.5″ woofer and 0.8″ tweeter)|
|Dimensions||5.62” (height) x 3.79” (width) x 3.79” (depth)||1.65″ (height) x 3.86″ (diameter)||5.9” (height) x 3.5” (width) x 3.5” (depth)||1.3″ (height) x 3.3″ (width) x 3.3″ (depth)||9.3″ (height) x 3.3″ (width) x 3.3″ (depth)|
|Play Music From||Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, Pandora, TuneIn, YouTube Music, Musixmatch, Napster, Saavn, 7digital||Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, Pandora, TuneIn, YouTube Music, Musixmatch, Napster, Saavn, 7digital||Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon My Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM||Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon My Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM||Amazon Music Unlimited, Amazon My Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM|
|Stream From Your Phone||Yes, via Phone Mirroring, Bluetooth, or Chromecast. Also Philips, Sony, Toshiba, VIZIO, and more||Yes, via Phone Mirroring, Bluetooth, or Chromecast. Also Philips, Sony, Toshiba, VIZIO, and more||Yes, via Bluetooth||Yes, via Bluetooth||Yes, via Bluetooth|
|Stream From Bluetooth Devices|
|Wake Word||“Okay, Google” “Hey Google”, or “Okay, Boo Boo”||“Okay, Google” “Hey Google”, or “Okay, Boo Boo”||“Alexa”, “Amazon”, or “Echo”||“Alexa”, “Amazon”, or “Echo”||“Alexa”, “Amazon”, or “Echo”|
|Calendar, Weather, Traffic|
|Shopping List:||Yes, and can order from Google Express Retailers including Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond if you live in an area where Google’s delivery service is offered.||Yes, and can order from Google Express Retailers including Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, PetSmart, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond if you live in an area where Google’s delivery service is offered.||Yes, and can order from Amazon and Best Buy.||Yes, and can order from Amazon and Best Buy.||Yes, and can order from Amazon and Best Buy.|
|Control Smart Home:|
|Questions:||Contextual Conversations and Multiple Questions||Contextual Conversations and Multiple Questions||Working Toward Contextual Conversations and Offers Follow-Up Mode (Alexa continues to listen for 5 seconds post responding)||Working Toward Contextual Conversations and Offers Follow-Up Mode (Alexa continues to listen for 5 seconds post responding)||Working Toward Contextual Conversations and Offers Follow-Up Mode (Alexa continues to listen for 5 seconds post responding)|
|Timers and Reminders|
|Routines||Performs Multiple Tasks With One Voice Command. Accepts Multiple Commands At Once.||Performs Multiple Tasks With One Voice Command. Accepts Multiple Commands At Once.||Performs Multiple Tasks With One Voice Command||Performs Multiple Tasks With One Voice Command||Performs Multiple Tasks With One Voice Command|
|Intercom (Room-to-Room Calling):|
|Users:||Supports six users. Automatically swaps between accounts.||Supports six users. Automatically swaps between accounts.||Supports Households. Automatically swaps between accounts.||Supports Households. Automatically swaps between accounts.||Supports Households. Automatically swaps between accounts.|
Base: Interchangeable (Silver, Black, White, Blue, Purple, etc.)
|Coral, Chalk, and Charcoal||Charcoal, Heather Gray, Oak Finish, Sandstone, Silver, Walnut Finish||Black, White, Optional Skins Sold Separately||Black, Silver, White|
|Where to Buy||Visit Site||Visit Site||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon|
Performance: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo
What surprised me most about running Google Home and Echo side-by-side were the day-to-day things, the stuff you can’t find by googling, the stuff you would only know if you use both.
Music and Speaker Battle
As both devices fall into the smart speaker category, let’s start with sound.
The best way for me to explain the sound difference is to let you hear it. In the video above, skip to minute 0:50 to hear a side-by-side comparison of Echo’s speaker to Google Home’s. Keep in mind that the video is comparing Echo Gen 1 to Google Home. Echo Gen 2, launched post video, features a better speaker including Dolby Digital support and an improved far-field microphone.
Compared to Gen 1, Google Home has a richer, deeper sound. It’s also clearer and fuller. However, I wouldn’t want to listen to music streamed from either device and I can’t imagine that Echo Gen 2 will change my mind. For music, I prefer my Echo Dot connected to a Bluetooth Bose Soundlink. If you don’t own a Bluetooth speaker, Echo Dot also has an audio jack. To compare, Google Home Mini, Google’s version of Echo Dot, can also stream to a Bluetooth speaker but lacks an audio jack. Also, Bluetooth streaming via Google Home is a new feature and many users, including myself, are finding that the connection is spotty. If you want a powerful speaker, you should also consider the $399.00 Google Home Max or even Sonos, which you can control using Alexa.
Google Home and Echo can both connect to music services. To test their ability to find and play songs, I subscribed to both Google Play Music and Amazon Music Unlimited and asked both devices to play twenty different songs from different eras and genres. I also threw in albums and lyrics.
There were a couple of times where both devices played the right song, but Google played the “right” version. Where Google Home usually picks the original version, Echo’s choice varies. For example, Echo played “Oh, Pretty Woman” by Van Halen where Google Home played the Roy Orbison original. And in another example, Echo played “Gentle on My Mind” by Alison Krauss where Google Home selected the version by Glen Campbell. And finally, when I asked Alexa to play the song that says, “come on ride this train and ride it,” she first played “Love Train” by the O’Jays, then a song by Johnny Cash, and another by Dave Nolan. Google, of course, gave me what I wanted: Quad City D.J.’s. In the end, Google Home played 20 of the 20 requests correctly, where Echo played 15/20 correctly.
Regarding music, one final difference between the two devices is how they react to a request to play one song. If you ask Google Home to play a song, it will play it and then continue playing similar songs. Amazon Echo will play your request and stop.
|Streaming Service||Amazon Music Unlimited (Starts at $3.99/month)||Google Play Music (Starts at $9.99/month)||Echo|
|Other Services||Amazon My Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM||Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, YouTube Music, Musixmatch, Napster, Saavn, 7digital||Tie|
|Stream to Bluetooth Devices||Tie|
|Audio Jack||All Echos Except Echo Show Have an Audio Jack||Google Home Max Only||Echo|
|Finds Songs Using Lyrics||Tie|
|Can Play Albums or Songs||Tie|
|Option to Block Explicit Music|
|Music Profiles Linked to Your Voice||Tie|
Personal and Kitchen Assistant Battle
Both devices can also help out in the kitchen by providing recipes, measurement conversions, and setting multiple timers. For example, you can set a timer for your pasta, your sauce, and a third for your garlic bread. Out of the box, Google Home wins in the kitchen. It can access recipes without an additional skill or app and guide you through the steps in an interactive manner. For example, it will give you one recipe step and then wait until you’re ready to move onto the next.
In acting as a personal assistant, it depends on what’s important to you. In using Echo for almost two years, I’ve found that shopping lists, timers, reminders, and music are what I use it for the most. Accessing Echo’s shopping list is faster than accessing the same through the Google app, but both devices support custom reminders. Not only will each device remind you, but you’ll also get a push notification on your phone in case you’re not at home to hear the reminder. That said, many users are currently experiencing issues with Google Home reminders, myself included.
|Question||Echo’s Answer||Home’s Answer|
|Timer||Yes, and you can have multiple times with different names.||Yes, and you can have multiple times with different names.||Tie|
|What’s the right internal temperature when cooking chicken?||Hmmm. I don’t know that one.||165° F. On the website thekitchn.com, they said, kitchen fact, the safe internal temperature for cooking chicken is 165° F.|
|How many tablespoons in 1/8 cups?||1/8 Cups is 2 Tablepoons||0.125 US Customary Cups Equals to US Tablespoons||Echo|
|Can I put tomatoes in the fridge?||Sorry, I don’t know that one.||The cold air in the fridge stops the ripening process and ripening is what gives tomatoes their flavor. The fridge will also alter the texture of the tomatoes. Instead of putting tomatoes in the fridge, store them in a paper bag …|
|How do you make lemonade?||The description reads, a cool refreshing summer drink that can be made at anytime you have lemons or limes. You can ask for ingredients or start a new search. (via a skill)||One, in a small saucepan combine sugar and one cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. And two, remove seeds from lemon juice but leave pulp.|
|Can you repeat that?||The description reads, a cool refreshing summer drink that can be made at anytime you have lemons or limes. You can ask for ingredients or start a new search.||I said, “One, in a small saucepan combine sugar and one cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. And two, remove seeds from lemon juice but leave pulp.”||Tie|
|Question||Echo’s Answer||Home’s Answer|
|Shopping||Can order from Amazon and tell you when your packages are delivered.||Can order from Google Express Retailers including Costco, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Walmart, PetSmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond if you live in an area where Google’s delivery service is offered..||Echo|
|Custom Reminders||Yes, and you can set location-based reminders (alert to your phone when you arrive at a certain location)|
|Where is the nearest movie theatre?||Here are a few nearby popular ones. (Responds with names of local theatres.) Check out the Alexa app for contact info and hours.||I found a few places. (Responds with name and address of local theatres.)|
|What’s playing? (Contextual Conversation)||Here are a few movies playing near Las Vegas Nevada today. (I’m not in Las Vegas.)||This is Living Word by Jeremy Camp. (not the right answer.)|
|How long would it take me to drive to Las Vegas?||I don’t know what one, but I’m working on including more local businesses.||With light traffic it would take 1 day and 2 hours to get to Las Vegas by car.|
|How much is a flight to Las Vegas?||Sorry, I’m not sure about that.||Upcoming round trip flights from Nashville to Las Vegas start at $82. Did you have any dates in mind?|
|Read my emails.||For help with that question, go to the help and feedback section of the Alexa app.||I can’t read emails, yet.||Echo|
|What’s on my calendar?||Uses Gmail, G Suite, Outlook.com, Office 365, and Apple iCloud||Uses Google Calendar||Tie|
|What’s traffic look like today?||To hear your traffic information, go to your Alexa app and set up your commute.||Sorry, I don’t know how to help with that yet, but I’m trying to learn.||Echo|
|What’s the weather like?||Right now, it’s 75 degrees with rain. Today’s forecast has thunderstorms with a high of 81 degrees and a low of 71 degrees.||Today there will be isolated thunderstorms with a forecasted high of 79 and a low of 71. It’s currently 76 with showers.||Tie|
|What will the weather be like at 7pm today?||In X it’s 32° with clear skies. Tonight’s forecast is calling for more of the same with a low of 15° degrees||The forecast in X today at 7pm is 28° and clear. Currently, it’s 30° and clear.|
|Will it be sunny on Tuesday?||On Tuesday, there will be lots of sun with a high of 51° and a low of 30°.||No. The sun is not expected to be out in X Tuesday. It will be partly cloudy with a high of 46° and a low of 26°.||Tie|
|Turn kitchen lights to pink and what’s the weather like today? (two-part question)||In X, it will be partly cloudy with a forecasted high of 41 and a low of 36. Right now, it’s 39° and cloudy. You got it, changing two lights to pink.|
|Wake me up at 8am||Alarm set for 8am.||Alright, your alarm is set for tomorrow at 8am.||Tie|
|Snooze 3 Minutes||Tie|
|Wake me up to (your favorite song) at 8am.||Echo|
|Night Mode||Will answer in a quieter voice at night.|
Both devices can technically support multiple accounts. Echo can use a family account where Google Home can support up to six different users. Both use voice recognition to swap between accounts. How accurate are they at recognizing voices? Kind of accurate. Google and Alexa still recognize a voice as my voice even if I make my voice two octaves higher, lower, and use a British accent. Google even allowed my sister’s voice to work as a voice passcode to my life. However, if I use a Southern accent, both devices ban me from accessing personal information.
So what does user access have to do with communication? A lot. Both devices have a calling feature and that feature relies on voice recognition. If you ask either device to call your mom, it will call your mom. If your kids ask to call their mom, it will call their mom. However, as voice recognition still needs a lot of fine-tuning, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
When it comes to calling, Google wins in that you can call by business name, where Alexa only lets you call by number or contact name. Alexa wins with video calls made possible via the Alexa App, Echo Show, or Echo Spot. With the Echo Connect, you can also call 911.
In addition to calls, both devices have an intercom feature, though I’ve found Echo’s intercom feature to be unreliable.
Finally, there are skills/apps that allow for emergency calling such as Ask My Buddy.
|Voice Calls to Phone Contacts||Tie|
|Call by Phone Number||Tie|
|Receive Calls on Device||From Other Alexa Device or App Users Only||Echo|
|Call Using Business Name|
|Video Calling||Echo Show and Echo Spot||Echo|
|Call Privacy||Only records wake word and call command.||Only records wake word and call command.||Tie|
|Call 9-1-1||Requires Echo Connect||Echo|
|Other Features||Voice Recognition, Drop In Calls||Voice Recognition||Tie|
Smart Home Battle
By connecting Home and Echo to third-party devices, you can turn on lights, lock doors, arm alarm systems, and change your home’s temperature using your voice. Echo works with way more third-party devices, but Google works with plenty. Both devices work with IFTTT and Stringify which helps to lift any direct integration limitation.
If you want to dig into what devices are compatible with Google Home and Echo, check out our Ultimate Guide to Smart Home Compatibility.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that Amazon Echo Plus has a built-in smart home hub. Using this version of Alexa, you can connect to devices like Philips Hue, GE, and Kwikset without adding a separate hub.
Both devices also have the ability to entertain, and this is another area where voice recognition comes in handy. Netflix, for example, supports voice match. You can tie your voice profile to your Netflix account. When you ask Google to play a show, it will pick up right where you left off.
|What’s my favorite color?||You told me that your favorite color is white.|
|Who’s my best friend?||Here’s what you told me July 27, 2017, “Amazon Alexa is my best friend.”|
|Beatbox and Rap||Tie|
|Yo Mama||Yo mama don’t like me telling yo mama jokes.||Yo mama’s so resourceful, she could have found nemo in five minutes.||Tie|
|Tell Me a Joke||Which baseball player has the shortest commute? The catcher. He only works from home.||What do you get when you put a vest on an alligator? An investigator.||Tie|
|Knock, Knock||Not only tells them, but waits for you to say, “who’s there?”|
|Other Games||Games and Trivia via Skills||Jokes, Mad Libs, Crystal Ball, Lucky Trivia, Sound Safari, and More||Tie|
|What’s the score of the Titans game?||On Saturday, the Titans lost to the Jets 7-3. They’ll play this Saturday in Nashville, TN against the Panthers.||The Titans lost 7-3 last Saturday against the Jets.||Tie|
|Video Streaming||fireTV, dish, YouTube on Echo Show||Cast Using Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV||Tie|
|Hands-Free TV||Hulu, Amazon Prime, Showtime, PlayStation View, CBS All Access,
Bravo, CNBC , and more (Coming Soon, requires Fire TV)
|Netflix, CW, CBS, HBO NOW (requires Chromecast)||Tie|
|Entertain Me||Sorry, I’m not sure.||I’ve been waiting for this moment. We can play lucky trivia, I can try to make you laugh, or you can spin the wheel. What do you think?|
|Make Me Laugh||Why are tennis pros always hugging each other? Because they start their matches at love all.||What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick.|
|Sing Happy Birthday||Tie (but Google has a little more soul)|
|Voice Options||Female||Male or Female|
|Find My Phone||Via IFTTT Only||Coming Soon|
25 Question Knowledge Battle
Finally, let’s wrap this up with a little battle of intelligence.
|How tall is Samuel Jackson?||Samuel L. Jackson’s height is 6 feet and 3 inches, 1.91 meters.||Samuel L. Jackson is 6’2 tall.||Tie|
|How old is he? (contextual)||Samuel L. Jackson is 68 years old.||He’s 68 years old.||Tie|
|Why doesn’t he age? (contextual)||Sorry, I’m not sure.||Sorry, I don’t know how to help with that.|
|How do you say, “I love you” in French?||je t’aime (via a skill)||je t’aime||Google (no skill required.|
|How do you say, “get to work” in German?||an die arbeit (via a skill)||zur arbeit kommen||Google (no skill required)|
|What’s the tallest building in the world?||The tallest building is Burj Khalifa.||The tallest buildings in the world include Burj Khalifa at 2,717′, Forest Park at 2,641′ and Shanghai Tower at 2,073′.||Echo|
|Can you use Amazon Echo for home security?||Sorry, I’m not sure.||Sorry, I don’t know how to help with that yet.|
|What’s 4×4+10-1?||4×4+10-1 is equal to 25.||The answer is 25.||Tie|
|What’s the square root of 0?||The square root of 0 is 0.||Square root 0 is 0.||Tie|
|What time is it in Beijing?||The time in Beijing is 5:43am.||The time in Beijing, China is 5:44am on Tuesday.||Tie|
|Spell atrocious||Atrocious is spelled ATROCIOUS||Atrocious is spelled ATROCIOUS||Tie|
|What sound does a horse make?||A horse is a horse, of course, of course, when it says neigh.||(Played actual horse sound.)||Tie|
|My armpits itch||Hmmm. I don’t know that one.||Health conditions related to this search include contact dermatitis, dermatitis, heat rash, or breast cancer.|
|Who wrote, “Through the Looking Glass?”||Alice Through the Looking Glass author is Linda Woolverton.||Lewis Carroll wrote Alice Through the Looking Glass.|
|What has a head and a tail, but no body?||Hmmm. I don’t know that.||On the website Quora.com, they say, “the traditional answer to the riddle is a coin, tell us something new.”|
|Which actor plays in the most movies?||Here are a few movies playing near you today.||On the website Quora.com, they say, “If we exclude Mel Blanc because he didn’t actually “appear” in most of his movies but did voiceover work for cartoon characters, then the American actor who has appeared in the most movies is Oliver Hardy, the chubbier half of the famous comedy duo, Laurel and Hardy.”|
|Who originally sang “My Girl?”||Sorry, I’m not sure.||“My Girl” was recorded by the temptations.|
|Are there mountains in Venice?||Sorry, I don’t know that.||Sorry, I don’t understand.|
|What’s a mesh network?||Sorry, I’m not sure.||Network, an arrangement of intersecting, horizontal, and vertical lines.|
|What style art did Pablo Picasso do”||Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France.||Pablo Picasso’s artwork includes Guernica, Les Demoiselles, The Old Guitarist, and other pieces.|
|Can you repeat that slowly?||Repeated, but not slowly.||And she did actually repeat it all slowly.|
|Who discovered America?||According to European history, Christopher Columbus is known for discovering the Americas in 1492. However, Icelandic explorer Leif Erikson landed in Newfoundland in the 11th century. But of course, there were already millions of people living in the Americas when they arrived.||Christopher Columbus||Echo|
|Does heavy drinking kill brain cells?||Sorry, I’m not sure about that.||According to businessinsider.com, Here’s a summary from brainhq.com, “Brain Fact: Moderate alcohol use doesn’t kill brain cells, and while rampant alcohol use can damage the brain, it’s not due to cell death. … Alcoholics can experience brain damage related to drinking, but it’s not because alcohol kills brain cells.”|
|Who’s the best president?||George Washington has my vote.||I don’t pick favorites when it comes to politics, but Lyndon B. Johnson does have the largest library, and I love libraries.||Tie|
|Is, “they IS my parents” grammatically correct?||Hmmm. I don’t know that.||Sorry, I’m not sure how to help with that yet.|
So, if you were keeping count, Google wins. While both were pretty head-to-head in most categories, Google pulled ahead with its ability to answer questions. After using both devices for several months, I still find myself using Echo Dot the most. For one, my Google Home can’t properly provide reminders. Two, it’s easier to access my shopping list via the Alexa app. Three, I use Amazon’s music service and it’s only $3 per month. However, I find myself often recommending Google Home over Echo. Though it doesn’t have as many smart home integrations, the integrations it has are more functional. For example, I consistently have problems with Echo and my Hue lights, but Google Home controls them without issue. For now, my plan is to keep them both, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I dumped Alexa for Google Home in the near future.