So you've decided to take the plunge and turn on your first intelligent speaker or screen (trust us, you'll love it). Here's the big question: Should you pick one that responds to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant?
Make this choice when choosing between Amazon Echo speakers and displays that are home to the ubiquitous Amazon Alexa. or Google Nest (formerly Home) devices powered by Google Assistant.
What's the best way to choose between Echo and Nest? Well, that depends on several factors. Do you want to be on the platform that is compatible with the smartest gadgets, or on the platform with an assistant who can answer a wide variety of questions? Would you prefer the platform with the most third-party apps, or the platform most suitable for setting up day-to-day routines?
If someone asked me to choose the best smart speaker / display ecosystem without any other context I would have to choose Amazon Echo.
Thanks to Alexa, echo devices have the most intelligent integrations, the most intelligent routines (or programmable actions triggered by different circumstances). most third-party capabilities (or at least the easiest to discover) and the widest selection of hardware. On the other hand, it's hard to beat a Nest Speaker with Google Assistant to answer common questions, and Google has some clever Nest Speaker security features that could help tip the scales in its favor.
Starting with …
Best Smart Home Compatibility
One of the best things you can do with your new Echo or Nest device is to use it as a command center for all other smart devices Your home. Just ask Alexa or Google, and they can turn their lights on and off, check your security cameras, turn on your TV, pull your sunglasses, and even brew some beer.
Of course not all smart devices work with any platform, and while there are many gadgets that work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, you will often find that they are one or the other choose.
If there is a particular smart device that you are using I am absolutely set to use it and it only works with Alexa or Assistant. Well, your decision could already have been made. However, if you're just entering the smart home world and you do not have special gadgets in mind, choosing the platform with the most comprehensive support for third-party smart gadgets is a good place to start.
Alexa, z Compatibility with a staggering number of brands, from Arlo and August to Zentec and Zulux. Amazon claims that more than 85,000 smart gadgets from more than 7,500 brands work with Alexa. Enter the Smart Home section of your local Best Buy and you'll see the Alexa logo everywhere. In fact, in my experience, when a smart product with an intelligent platform works, Alexa is almost always one of them.
Google Nest, supported by Google Assistant, is almost as ubiquitous in smart solutions as Alexa home integrations, but it's still reasonably behind. The last time we heard about 30,000 products from more than 3,500 brands work with Google Assistant, including major smart home players like Arlo, August, Belken, Philips Hue, Kasa, Logitech, LIFX, and more.
Of course, the sheer number of gadgets that a smart home platform is compatible with does not make you squat unless it works with the smart devices you care about most. If we're talking about numbers here …
Winner: Amazon Echo
Best for Answering Random Questions
Strictly speaking, the ability of a digital assistant to answer common questions ("Who was George Washington?" ) Not enough It's not a smart home feature in itself, but since choosing one of these two great smart speaker platforms costs time with Alexa or Google Assistant, we thought it was worth treating.
Amazon has spent years and immeasurable improving Alexa's ability to analyze her sentences, anticipate probable follow-up, and otherwise work out the meaning of our everyday issues. But while it's incomparable to understand your questions, Alexa sometimes jokes when answering them, especially on general questions like, "What's the Canterbury Tales about?"
Alexa's problem is that she's not Google is – or more precisely, she can not access Google's terrifying knowledge pool about everything and everyone. In fact, Amazon recently launched a program called Alexa Answers that can be used to provide crowdsource answers to questions from Google. Not a bad idea, but Alexa will not leave Google that fast.
Winner: Google Nest
Without some, you would not invite roommates to your home Trust level, right? The same applies to digital assistants powered by smart platforms like Alexa and Google Nest. Together with Apple's Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant were involved in a privacy scandal last summer when it became known that Apple, Amazon, and Google had allowed third-party vendors to listen to their respective digital assistant voice recordings to assess their accuracy. Talk about a violation of privacy, not to mention confidence.
Since then, Apple, Amazon and Google have leaned back to remedy the situation. All three companies have introduced new privacy controls and policies clarify what they are hearing, why they are doing it, and how to unsubscribe if you so desire.
Both Alexa and Google Assistant (and Siri too) now let you review what they've heard of you say, and you can easily delete their listening histories. You can also disable manual review of your voice recordings and set both Alexa and Google Assistant to automatically delete your assistant activity after a set amount of time. Still, we are still paranoid about our intelligent speakers and displays that listen to every single word.
Winner: Tie (and we're not happy to call someone "winner" here)
Best at Routines
With Alexa and Google Assistant, you can set up "routines" that involve themselves are actions (or a series of actions) that are triggered by a specific event. For example, you can set Alexa or Google Assistant to turn on the lights, show the weather, and read the messages when you say "Good morning," or dim the lights, close the curtains, and turn down the thermostat when you say, "Me go to bed. "
While both digital assistants have a variety of actions for a particular routine, Alexa can rate a variety of trigger groups. While the Google Assistant triggers are largely limited to voice commands, Alexa's routines from your location (such as when you leave work or at home) may alert you to the time of day (either a specific time or the sunrise). be triggered or sunset) or press an echo key.
Winner: Amazon Echo
Digital Photo Frame Best Features
After warming up as your first intelligent speaker, you can catch a smart display over time – and once you do so, you'll quickly notice that one of your favorite smart display features is the ability to act as a digital photo frame.
Amazon Echo Ads allow you to view a slideshow of your Amazon Photos or Facebook snapshots. With the power of face recognition and machine learning, you can choose an album of handpicked photos or an automatically generated album of friends and relatives.
Google Hub and Hub Max uniquely showcased the Echo Show with their support for Google Photo's "Live Albums" feature, making it incredibly easy to create a constantly updated album with friends, loved ones, and even pets , And Google not only seems to be smarter at recognizing faces, but also creating attractive photo collages that fill the entire screen when it comes to portraits.
Winner: Google Nest
Best Built-in Home Security
While there are a variety of home security devices that you can control with Alexa and Google Assistant, both Echo and Google Nest devices are self-contained security-oriented Equipment.
Take Alexa Guard, a feature that allows your Echo device to keep an ear out for broken glass, carbon monoxide, or smoke detectors and send you a mobile notification or alarm to a professional monitoring service if you have a ring alert or ADT use compatible security service. Amazon has also announced that Alexa Guard will soon be able to experience other "noises of activity" while you're away (for example, walking, talking, or running taps).
Not to mention In addition, Google Nest devices will soon be able to hear suspicious sounds at home too. The Google Nest Max Smart Display has a built-in Nest Camera that automatically turns on when you leave the house and turns off when you return home.  Not bad, but Google Nest's upcoming integrated security features depend on Nest Aware, a paid subscription service. If Nest Aware includes suspicious noise support for echo speakers, it costs $ 6 per month, a price that covers all of your Nest security devices. (Currently Nest Aware costs $ 5 per month for a single Nest camera.) Alexa Guard, however, is free and we're big fans of free.
Winner: Amazon Echo
Largest Selection of Devices
Both Amazon and Google offer a range of smart devices of their own brand, some large, some small, some with displays, and others that only speakers are. Amazon Echo, however, has a clear lead in the variety of first-party hardware and accessories.
Google's smart ecosystem ranges from Nest Mini speakers worth $ 50 (formerly known as Nest Mini Speakers) Home Mini) to Nest Hub Max for $ 230, which has over one 10-inch display and (as already mentioned) has a built-Nest camera. In between are the 7-inch Nest Hub display and the mid-size Google Home speaker. There's also a $ 300 home-high high-end speaker that incorporates the new Google Wifi Mesh Router(starting at $ 170). Google Assistant is integrated with every optional Wifi node. Overall, it is a solid, reasonable lineup.
Amazon, on the other hand, is crazy about Alexa-powered devices. Yes, there are some obvious matches with Google, eg. For example, the Nest Mini-Echo Dot (which shares the $ 50 prize for the Nest Mini), the 10-inch echo show display for $ 230 (along with the smaller Echo Show 8).and Echo Show 5), the echo speaker for the median price of $ 100 the Echo Sub for $ 130 and the upcoming Dolby Atmos-enabled Echo Studio Speaker for a whopping $ 200.
However, Amazon was not afraid to think outside the box on the echo line. Consider the Echo Frames(basically an Alexa pair of glasses), the Echo Loop (Alexa in a ring ), the Echo Flex (a compact Alexa-capable speaker that you can plug directly into a power outlet), the Echo Glow (a clever lamp for kids), the echo button (a large, colorful button that allows you to trigger routines and play games) and echo input (which Alexa has control of) a standard "stupid" speaker). Basically, we talk here, there and everywhere, of echo devices, and Amazon shows no signs of slowing down.
Winner: Amazon Echo
Most Actions and Apps
Beyond Their Basic Features Both Alexa and Google Assistant support third-party apps that work on smart speakers and displays. Alexa calls these apps "Skills," while Google Assistant calls them "Actions." Like the apps on your phone, both assistants can use Google Assistant actions and Amazon Alexa skills to tell jokes, call taxis, order pizza, and check your actions, bank account, and more.
It's a tough task to determine which smart platform has the best apps available. We could start with how many apps each platform has, but getting meaningful numbers can be tricky. According to Amazon, Alexa recently reached only 100,000 skills, while Google claims that Assistant has more than one million actions, although a third-party analysis earlier this year has brought Google's figure to about 4,200 – a rather massive disparity. (Maybe Google counts every single command as an action? Hmmm.)
Apart from the amount of actions and abilities, there is the issue of quality, and a quick glance at the Amazon Competency Directory reveals many low-quality offerings, including one purchase required to unlock the full functionality.
Still, we're going to give Alexa the distinct advantage here because the Alexa app for mobile has a Skills directory that's both searchable and searchable. Google Assistant requires you to search the web for available actions.
Winner: Amazon Echo