Smart Home Weekly: Amazon Alexa vs Google Assistant

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Both Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant are very popular smart assistants that can also play a role in controlling your smart home. But which one is the better platform to use and invest in? They are both pretty similar, but where the Google Assistant is built into every Android smartphone (outside of China) sold, could it be the better option? Let's explore.

Smart Home Compatibility

As of right now, Alexa does support more smart home products. However that is quickly changing, as Google Assistant is quickly catching up with Alexa. In many cases, smart home products will support both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to use either platform to control them with your voice. Now Alexa will also support more of the lesser-known brands, as it's easier (and Amazon has more incentives) to integrate than Google Assistant. But if you're buying products from the likes of Wemo, Philips Hue, Arlo, and others, then it is very likely that both platforms are supported out of the box.

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How Smart Are These Assistants? 

Google Assistant is actually the smarter one here, and it's a pretty simple explanation as to why. Google Assistant has the power of Google Search behind it, which is the most popular search engine out there and has a ton of data. Meanwhile Amazon is using its own search engine, and it is obviously not as robust as Google Assistant. Google has also been answering questions via voice for quite a few years with Google Now and now Google Assistant, so it also has that experience behind it.

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With Google Assistant you can also ask follow up questions. For example, if you wanted to know who the president was, you could then follow up by saying "how tall is he?" and Google Assistant will know you are still talking about Donald Trump. That was a feature that Alexa lacked until recently. So this shows that Google Assistant did have a big lead over Alexa, but Amazon is still improving the platform and catching up – much like Google Assistant is with smart home integration.

Hardware Options

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Both platforms have a ton of options for hardware. With Amazon Alexa, you have a slew of different Echo form factors, with the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, and Echo Spot. Not to mention the many, many third-party options. Including the ecobee4. This is the most interesting way to use Alexa, since it is built-into your smart thermostat. So it's like having an Echo inside your thermostat. So you can ask your thermostat different things. It's pretty neat – and ecobee has just announced a new light switch that also has Alexa built-in. Of course, Amazon has also built Alexa into its tablets and Fire TV platforms, so that you can have Alexa available on more platforms.

With Google Assistant, Google hasn't done as many first-party products – releasing the Google Home, Home Mini and Home Max. But third-party manufacturers have come out with plenty of other great products here for you to use. One of our favorites is the Sony LF-S50G smart speaker. It's a great looking speaker that also has a LED clock on the front. This is great for having next to your bed at night, as you can easily see the time, instead of relying on an old-fashioned alarm clock. There's also other things like the JBL LINK Series, which are portable Google Assistant speakers and currently the only portable Google Assistant speakers available. And of course, Google Assistant is built into virtually every Android smartphone and it's available for iOS as well.

Wrap Up

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Whether you decide to go with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, you're going to have a good time with plenty of options for bringing either assistant into your home. However, if you are looking for some quality smart speakers to bring into your home, you may want to go with Amazon Alexa, as it has Harman Kardon and Sonos on its side. Although Google Assistant also has JBL – Harman Kardon's sister brand –  on its side. If you are going to be using your assistant a lot on your smartphone, then Google Assistant is the one to go with. Otherwise, either one will be perfectly fine.