Mercedes becomes the first car maker to bring both Alexa and Google Assistant to their vehicles. Meanwhile, Ford has Alexa and Hyundai has Google Assistant. Now with Mercedes, owners will be able to choose which virtual assistant they use with their vehicle. This option will be part of their mbrace smartphone platform, which costs $199/year after a free six month trial. Mercedes mentioned that all of their 2016 and 2017 model year vehicles in the US will have access to Alexa and Google Assistant today. Europe will be getting the features in the near future, but no timeline was mentioned.
Many may wonder why they would need or want to have Alexa and/or Google Assistant in the car, and really it's just about making these assistants a part of every part of your life. With Alexa and Google Assistant, you can use your voice to start your car, you can also use it to unlock or lock the doors. Now from within the car, you can simply use the trigger word (Alexa, or OK Google) and have it start playing music, or ask it a question. What's even cooler is that if you have smart light bulbs or your garage door connected to either Google Assistant or Alexa, you can tell either assistant to open it while you are driving down the street, and turn on your lights. It's not a feature that everyone has to have, but once you've used it, you'll find out just how useful it really is. And it'll be tough to go back to a world where you don't have Alexa or the Google Assistant.
Alexa and Google Assistant do differ a bit, where Google Assistant has Google behind it, Alexa doesn't. So Google Assistant is more likely to know the answers to your questions. Where Alexa has more integrations with other platforms, especially smart home platforms like Philips Hue, TP-Link, WeMo and many more. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and are always getting better. The interaction within the car is still a new thing for both assistants, but it should also get better with time.