Alexa Vs. Google Home
You probably remember the first time you purchased a device that could speak to you, listen to your requests, and act for you. Before we dive right into our Alexa Vs. Google Home discussion, we want to reach back toward that memory to help you best understand how we’re able to pit these two voice assistants against each other.
Whether you accidentally tapped the home button on your iPhone and heard the robotic voice of Siri come through, or whether you’ve purposely dived deep into the robotic voice assistant programs of Google Home, Amazon, and more, there’s certainly a reason these programs have become increasingly popular over the years.
In fact, artificial intelligence and voice control devices are becoming such an integral part of our everyday lives that it’s nearly impossible to purchase a smartphone without some form of voice assistant.
This is monopolizing more than just our cellphones, though. Artificial intelligence is slowly, but seamlessly, integrating itself int our speakers, homes, cars, and more. Now-a-days, it’s less of the “why should I buy this?” questions and more of the “which should I buy?” dilemma. With dozens of voice assistants out there on the market, it can be confusing to try to navigate the marketplace and choose which voice assistant, which artificial intelligence, is the best pick for you and your personal needs.
Do You Need a Voice Assistant Program?
Do you need a voice assistant to help you manage your business meetings and appointments? Do you prefer a voice assistant program who can literally order something for you without ever clicking a computer? Do you want access to a voice program that can help keep your house safe?
It’s a confusing marketplace to navigate, as we stated before. But, we’re here to provide you with good news. We’ve taken two of our favorite voice assistant programs, Amazon’s Alexa Vs. Google Home and we’ve pit them side-by-side for an in-depth comparison of which program could work best for you. Not only have we conducted deep research, we’ve given you a brief history of each, discussed the origins, and tapped into the pros and cons of each program to help you decide which could best fit your lifestyle.
Interested in uncovering which voice assistant program could work best for you? We thought you might. Dive deep into the ins and outs of these two artificial intelligence, voice control programs
Why Bother with a Voice Assistant Program?
If you, like so many others are still struggling with the very first question of the artificial intelligence voice command, not the which should I buy question (the Alexa Vs. Google Home question), but the why should I buy question, we have those answers here, too!
Voice assistant programs do more than just set alarms on your phone, call people when your hands are full, and delegate notes into your note pad. In fact, voice assistant programs, Google Home and Alexa specifically, developed to configure with numerous smart devices to make your life easier.
Programs like Alexa and Google Home (the key players in our Alexa Vs. Google Home debate) allow you to create reminders for appointments, as we mentioned, but you can also perform searches with just your voice. Got your hands full with a recipe you’re working on and forgot the next ingredient? No problem. Alexa or Google can look up what you’re missing when you ask them – that’s right, sans hands, you can have this AI program find the answers for you.
These types of voice control programs can also control software apps. How do we mean? Well, have you ever asked Alexa or Google what the weather will be life or if the traffic will be congested? That’s the perfect example of tying Alexa and Google Home’s capabilities with other software apps.
Why this Alexa Vs. Google Home Debate?
It’s more than that though, despite the Alexa Vs. Google Home argument, with both you can dictate blog posts for your content marketing, proofread documents, transform voice into text, transcribe long vocal presentations, and even translate into your native language.
The possibilities with Alexa and with Google Home are seemingly endless.
We’ll be taking a direct look at the pros, cons, similarities, differences, and unique features of both Amazon Alexa and Google Home to help you better understand which voice program could work best for you and your needs.
Join us as we begin our Alexa Vs. Google Home debate!
Brief Histories of Each Voice Program
Before we jump into the pros and cons of each and really get into our Alexa Vs. Google Home conversation, it helps to know a bit about the inception of each voice program, note their bugs and advancements, and discuss the potential future of each of these voice control programs.
Alexa: The Inception
First things first, don’t get the Alexa program confused with the actual, physical speakers that the Alexa program comes equipped on. Housed in the speakers, phones, and other devices, you’ll find Alexa the program.
Alexa is a voice-control system that lets you speak your wishes, questions, and commands to the Amazon devices that were developed to house them. Alexa was announced in early 2014 and inspired by the computer voice and conversational system that was on board the Starship Enterprise on the popular Star Trek show. The ancient library of Alexandria is the namesake of Alexa. This library had infinite and limitless access to knowledge and answers.
Currently, Alexa is in its second generation with a handful of derivative versions available. It has tentacles in music, smart-home advancement, and digital assistant abilities and is totally controlled by your voice – no touching or key-strokes required.
Since its inception and announcement in 2014, the Alexa program has undergone several advancements, made its way into the very construction of smart homes of the future, and become a function that many rely on for everyday routines. It’s morphed from a simple phone assistant to a smart home hub and has big plans.
Google Assistant and Google Home: The Beginning
Just as Amazon’s Alexa is not a brand of speaker, the Google Assistant program isn’t a device brand, either. Instead, the Google Assistant functions on Google Home devices such as google phones, google speakers, and other google branded and created technology.
The Google Assistant was initially debuted in May of 2016 as part of the Google messaging app, but after many changes and developments, it’s been deployed in third-party smartphones, and is now a standalone app on the iOS operating system. Google Assistant developed for google smartphones, however, by November 4 of 2016, the launch of Google Home (and the smartphone Google Pixel) was making headway in the voice assistant market.
Since its inception in 2016, the Google Assistant has seen several advancement and changes, the most notable in 2017 when Google Assistant became available on third-party devices (in other words, not google-specific devices). As time progressed, the Google Home programs and devices became more sophisticated and more Google Assistant compatible, making room for serious improvements and international competition (such as the announcement from February that ensures that Google Assistant will know over 30 languages by the end of 2018).
Let’s Talk About the Good Stuff
Now, let’s talk about the benefits of each, what they’re capable of, and how you can best begin to narrow down which voice assistant program could be best for you. Essentially, it’s time to get to the meat of the Alexa Vs. Google Home Debate
The Pros of Alexa
When it comes to capability, Alexa isn’t messing around. Alexa has plenty of unique skills that are only available with her program. A skill, in this sense, is more like an app, or a mini program you can add to her device home to enable a new ability. Alexa has over 25,000 skills that she has the capability to handle. Alexa reveals more skills with every day.
Here a few of our absolute favorite things that Alexa has the capability to accomplish:
Smart Home Integration
As we discussed, Alexa has plenty of skills, and one of them is the ability to integrate with other smart devices to make your home (somewhat) voice controlled. Alexa is part of a platform known as the Smart Home Skill API that allows third-party developers to create apps that let Alexa act as the command center.
For example, Alexa can work with smart light bulbs in your home, allowing you to adjust the lights with just a simple voice command. Want to turn on specific sounds to play over your home speakers? Alexa can do that. Want to control your entertainment system and turn your devices on without touching a thing? Alexa can do that. Want to adjust the temperature without getting up? That’s possible.
There are even developments underway that can allow third-party designs to work with Alexa to help you cook (we’re talking about Anova Precision Cooker, and it’s a pretty neat concept). With it, you can cook and adjust temperatures just using your voice.
Though rudimentary now, the Alexa voice control functions for smart homes will only improve, a designation that Amazon has shown full commitment to with their announcement in May 2018 that all Lennar Corporation homes built this year will include Alexa in their smart designs.
This is one of the best skills that Alexa has because it feeds into its capabilities like no other feature. IFTT, or rather, If This Then That, is a skill that allows you to help craft recipes for Alexa to function in a particular way. Alexa adds website apps that let you link different devices and services on Alexa’s cloud to create recipes that allow you to do certain things. Want to order a pizza from Dominos? You can do that. Want to configure Alexa to, for lack of a better term, break the rules on what seemed possible? You can do that with IFTTT.
The essential setup of this Alexa function is that you can allow this sort of thought process to configure with Alexa — “if this trigger occurs, then that action needs to take place.”
Want to use your IFTT to pair Alexa to function with your automated coffee (that’s designed to be Alexa compatible?)? That’s possible.
There are numerous things that you can accomplish with this skill, but the point is, it’s one of Alexa’s best features yet.
Smart Assistant Tools for Daily Life
Do you need help with keeping meetings, scheduling, setting timers, and managing your everyday appointments? Alexa can come in handy. After all, she truly is a digital assistant designed to make your life easier. She can make multitasking, planning, and scheduling. Using IFTTT recipes, you can add additions to your to-do list, update your calendar, and even design ways to keep your marketing and digital content on schedule.
Purchasing from (or outside of) Amazon
You probably already know that when using Alexa, you’re able to purchase millions of different items from Amazon without ever lifting a finger. Did you know that you can set up Alexa to purchase items that are not found on Amazon?
Thinks like pizza, flowers, and uber rides are possible if you know how to work your Alexa program properly.
On other notes, Amazon’s Alexa is a great choice if you stick to a particular syntax, specifically if you’re willing to adjust your sentence structure to something that she’ll always understand. This will allow you dig down into what Alexa can really do, like link with other third-party sources (think ordering from Dominos or getting rides from Lyft).
The Pros of Google Home
There are plenty of positives about Google Assistant, too. From answering capabilities to smart home hub control, the Google Assistant program isn’t trying to mess around, either. Here’s a few of the best attributes of Google Home:
Question Answering is the Best in the Business
In case you weren’t aware, one of the biggest pros of the Google Home voice assistant is the fact that, well, it’s driven by Google, meaning any question you have answered. The Google Assistant has access to resources that can help best answer the questions you have. Google Assistant leverages Google’s Knowledge Graph, a system that contains millions of facts – facts about people, places, things, and how everything connects. With this access, google assistant can provide responses that far surpass the capabilities of programs like Alexa.
Smart Home Controls are Coming Along
The Google Assistant Smart Home controls are coming a long way, so much so that some people actually prefer to use the Google assistant to act as the hub for their smart home controls. Want to turn the air down? You can do that with google voice assistant. Want to adjust the lights? It’s possible. Want to access your home’s entertainment system? Google Assistant can do that, too. Want to cast videos and photos to your TV? Just say the word.
Just like Amazon, Google Assistant has the ability to craft recipes for If That Then This, but it’s also incredibly intuitive when it comes to receiving commands. For example, whereas Alexa needs specific commands in particular syntax in order to make something happen, Google Assistant is far more of a conversationalist who can get the gist of what you’re saying or asking and deliver the results you want.
Third Party Compatibility
Like Alexa, Google Assistant is making great strides toward becoming third-party friendly, especially when it comes to apps and skills available on the Android marketplace. You’ll find Google assistant in the future in products that aren’t specific to Google, whereas Amazon’s Alexa will likely stay put.
One of the biggest pros about Google Assistant is that the voice identification and voice recognition is top-notch, making it a breeze to use. You can program your Google Assistant to respond solely to you, or to identify different people and allow them to get personalized results off of Google Assistant
Now Let’s Go Negative: What are the Cons of Each Program?
No matter how interesting and awesome each of these voice control programs sound, it’s important to remember that nothing is perfect – especially artificial intelligence in our current day-in-age. All of these programs, though highly functional and useful, are works in progress, meaning the will have a few negatives here and there that might users differently.
As biased as this may sound, Alexa’s biggest flaw is that she simply isn’t Google. This is the first flaw in the Alexa Vs. Google Home debate. By that, we don’t mean that she can’t function as well as the Google Assistant, just that she has a different basis of knowledge than Google Assistant. This applies specifically in the asking questions function with Alexa. While she’s suited to answer most questions, what it cannot answer outweighs her system — so, if you’re searching for a voice assistant that’s set up mainly to answer your questions, the Alexa voice program might not be the right pick. In other words, she struggles to answer questions that need more delving into than basic Wikipedia or online articles
More than that, though, Alexa sometimes struggles with making things work exactly as you want them to. It’s simply just not as intuitive and she can get confused. Often, if you want something to work out in a very specific way, you’ll need to create and utilize a “if this then that” recipe to craft the correct version of whatever you’re working on.
Other complaints about the Amazon Alexa system?
Unfortunately, lots of users have noted that there’s wake-word confusion, or rather, you’ll have to use very specific words (such as “Alexa” or “Computer”) to get her attention. Other words won’t work, but worse, specific Alexa-compatible devices will all have different wake-words. It’s a tiny inconsistency, but one that causes confusion.
Many have commented that Alexa can struggle with comprehension issues and occasionally can have problems with voice recognition, however, it’s noted that much of the 2nd generation tweaks have improved this significantly. The technology is currently limited, but it’s important to note that this program is just 4 years old and there’s plenty of room to improve in the meantime, a promise that we don’t doubt Amazon will deliver on.
Google Home Cons
Not everything can be positive, though, especially when it comes to technology that’s still in its early stages. For all of the positives the Google Assistant offers, there are some negatives to consider in our Alexa Vs. Google Home debate.
Third Party Lags
Unfortunately, users have noticed that, although Google Assistant works well with third party programs or skills, it can occasionally lag when it comes down to it. This is something that is likely going to improve, but a notable negative to pay attention to.
Launch Phrases are Complicated
Just like with the Alexa program, the wake phrases or launch phrases are a bit picky. Though Google Assistant, overall, isn’t quite as demanding with the syntax you use, it does require some specific launch phrases in order to make this work correctly.
Requires a lot of Access to Your Personal Data
This is a huge disadvantage for a lot of users. If you want the Assistant to be able to perform certain skills, you need to be willing to allow it to access your personal data. Want the system to send SMS for you? Be ready to allow it access to your messages. Want ideas about traffic patterns to leave for your appointment on time? It needs your location. Allowing Google Assistant to work her magic will mean allowing access to data.
Alexa Vs. Google Home: Which Fits Your Needs?
Of everything we’ve told you today about these two voice assistant programs, it’s important to remember that with time and technological advances, these are only destined to get better.
Picking the right voice assistant (between Alexa Vs. Google Home) is going to depend heavily on what you plan to use your voice assistant for. Are you looking for a personal assistant to help you delegate tasks, keep appointments, and set goals? If so, the Alexa program might be for you. If you need something that’s intuitive, doesn’t require a learning curve, and can answer all of your questions, Google Assistant might be your best bet. It’s a tough call in our Alexa Vs. Google Home conversation.
All in all, choosing the right voice assistant is going to depend heavily on your needs and wants, but rest assured knowing that both options are winners in our book, even if we did pit them against each other in the Alexa Vs. Google Home debate.