If you can’t wait to kick back and let your new smart home speaker take your dinner order, keep track of your grocery list, and play your favorite music, you’re not alone. But will Amazon Echo pamper you best, or will Google Home? Is the Apple HomePod, due out in December a better choice than either of these?
Amazon Echo with the Alexa intelligent assistant has more than 10,000 “skills” (abilities). Echo enables you to control smart home appliances, listen to your Fitbit stats, and order Domino’s pizza using only your voice. Place calls, send texts, find movies, and ask questions without ever touching a smartphone, keyboard, or remote control. Alexa Skills also connect you with a multitude of entertainment, productivity, and personal apps and services.
Echo connects to more smart products than its competitors, Google and Apple. It connects you to Amazon Prime shopping deals and discounts and plays millions of songs from Amazon Music. The only downside is that Echo lags behind Google Home when it comes to comprehensive search results and accurate voice recognition.
Google Home connects to Google accounts, smart home devices, and apps and services from Google and its partners. If you enjoy the search experience with Google more than searching Amazon.com, you’ll be happy finding Google search at the heart of Google Home. Google Home’s smart assistant and voice control agent, Google Assistant, is more accurate than Apple HomePod’s Siri or Amazon Echo’s Alexa. Google Assistant can distinguish any voice in the room, even when you’re using multiple accounts.
Google Home enables you to stream music via Google Play Music and audio to speakers throughout the house using Chromecast Audio. Amazon’s product does not have this feature. Unfortunately, Amazon Echo has a head start on Google Home when it comes to controlling smart home devices and services.
The Apple HomePod, a smart home hub and home audio system arrives in December 2017. The voice-activated HomePod uses Siri to answer questions on topics from Astrology to Zoetrope, as do the Echo and Google Home. The device accesses Apple Music to play your favorite songs with sound quality comparable to high-end wireless speaker systems.
The HomePod’s Siri focuses your questions and searches based on context. If you recently read something about dogs and you search for Xoloitzcuintli, a hairless Mexican breed, Siri can correct your spelling and may even suggest the abbreviated name, Xolo. Since Siri is native to more dialects than other virtual assistants, it could help you order your favorite Shawarma dish for delivery, in perfect Arabic using Google Translate.
Apple HomePod commands smart home devices using Apple’s HomeKit technology. However, Apple HomePod does not support third-party apps -especially those from Android— which are not compatible with Siri.
Head off commitment issues
Take some time to learn more about these smart speakers from friends and vendors and through in-store demonstrations (where available) before you commit to the intelligent speaker of your dreams.