In school, I loved raising my hand really high and answering the teacher’s questions. My whole life, I’ve wanted to have all the answers at my fingertips.
So when I got a smartphone and I could ask Google anything with nothing but my voice, I was hooked.
But today, there are smart speakers that act like personal assistants who can respond to my voice without even needing to press a button on my phone. I know what you’re thinking. I need one of these in my life right now, too.
What Are These Smart Speakers?
Both of these machines are your in-home personal assistants. You can ask it any question, like “what’s the color of the sky” and “what am I doing next Saturday?” Both can tell you the weather and your calendar events coming up. You can command them to play your music and shut off all the lights in your house.
What’s the Difference?
There are only a few differences between the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.
- Looks like an air freshener
- Plays Spotify, Pandora and Google Play Music
- Connects easily to Chromecast (Google’s streaming service)
- Understands your personal preferences
- Hooks up with smarthome products from Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue and IFTTT
- Looks like a black roll of paper towels
- Plays Spotify, Pandora and Amazon Prime Music
- Has over 3,000 “skills,” or apps
- Recognizes your voice from long distances
- Hooks up with same smarthome products as Google Home, plus WeMo, Inteon, Lifx, Ecobee and more
Now, What’s This Amazon Dot?
It’s the same as the Echo, but without the full-size speakers—and it’s $100 cheaper. It also looks like a hockey puck with glowing blue lights.
How Much Does Each One Cost?
There are some pretty good Black Friday sales going on this week:
Amazon Echo: $139.99 (retail price $179.99) at Sears, Staples, Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon website
Google Home: $99.99 (retail price $129.99) at Best Buy, Walmart, Target and Google
Amazon Echo Dot: $39.99 (retail price $49.99) at Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples, Toys R’ Us and Amazon website
Which One Should You Get?
It’s pretty much a toss-up at this point. If you like having all the answers you would receive when typing a search into Google from your computer or handheld, get the Google Home. One user we talked to reported the depth of answers to be greater than from Amazon (which makes sense given the Google affiliation). He also gave a nod to Google Home’s trivia games for kids.
If you want to call an Uber or order pizza quickly, get the Amazon Echo. The same reviewer we talked to said the Echo may have a slight upper hand to the Home on its news reporting, and he said its speaker has more oomph, too.
If you have speakers you can connect it to or don’t mind using a smaller speaker, plus you want to save money and space, get the Amazon Dot.
Or, if you’re an Apple fan, just wait a few months until Apple releases their own home personal assistant.