Why Google Home May Be Better than Alexa
Voice controlled home assistants like Google Home or Amazon's Echo featuring Alexa can do many of the same things. They can tell you the weather, update you on the news, create shopping lists, help you with your commute, serve as a calculator, set timers, control thermostats and lights, and play games. I've used both for months although I never got around to connecting either of them to lights or thermostats. But for other uses, having used both for a while, Google Home has become my favorite and Echo is a bit neglected. Echo may be better known and more successful but that doesn't mean it may be right for you.
Google Home costs $129 versus $179 for Echo. There is a smaller version of Echo called the Echo Dot, which sells for $49. The Dot is fantastic and affordable enough to have in every room in the house. But when comparing the larger models, Home beats Echo when it comes to price. You're getting a similar item for about $50 less.
If you use Amazon for shopping, music, audio-books, and for Prime Video then Alexa is probably the assistant for you. You can actually order items directly using your Echo device. Alexa can be used with Fire TV Stick, which let's you:
"Enjoy over 10,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills including Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, NBC, WatchESPN, Disney, and more. Subscription fees may apply."
You can tell Alexa to play a show on Netflix using the connected Fire TV Stick. It can also be used with Spotify Premium and Pandora.
The Echo Dot is a smaller more affordable version of Echo
However if you don't use Fire TV Stick and you're a Google user the Google Home device may be a better fit for you. You can use the device with Chromecast to play shows on Netflix or videos on YouTube. If you subscribe to Google Play Music or Spotify, you can also run music from the device. Disappointingly Google Home doesn't yet have the option to play audio-books, songs, or movies purchased from the Google Play Store.
Another thing many people use home assistants for is asking questions. My kids use the devices to check whether they've done math problems correctly. They've stopped using Alexa because it doesn't seem to grasp decimal points. As an example, if you ask Alexa "What is 2 dollars and 50 cents plus 3 dollars and 50 cents" the response is "I can't help with that." Google Home has been able to answer every arithmetic problem we've thrown at it. Alexa also repeats the question back, which can be a little annoying when you're checking multiple math problems. Home just provides the answer. Alexa is able to set reminders. Surprisingly Home can't yet do this.
When it comes to commuting Google Home is more helpful. When I asked "How long will it take to get to Target" Alexa told me it doesn't know but told me where my nearest Target is. Google Home told me how long it would take. When I asked Alexa "Where is my nearest grocery store" the answer started off with "Based on your zip code" and then proceeded to tell me what stores are in my area. Google Home actually told me what my nearest store is.
Outside of using Alexa for shopping lists and the news, I find myself using Google Home most of the time. What's best for you may come down to what features you'll need the most and whether you use Fire TV Stick or Chromecast. And the music subscription service you use. If you use Spotify Premium, it's available for both. Of course, you can get both Echo and Google Home and enjoy the best of both worlds.
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