We talk a lot about the cool things Amazon and Google have pulled off with the Echo and Home speakers, but the one big thing these speakers have in common is room to grow. Neither system is perfect, and the things these speakers get wrong or just plain can't do are an important metric of what the teams working on these gadgets see as a priority.
With that in mind, we've got a quick guide for you to see what exactly these connected speakers are missing or don't get quite right.
|Multiple Wake Words||❌||✔️|
|Separate voice recognition||✔️||❌|
While the world waits for the ability to set whatever word you want as the trigger for waking up a connected home speaker, Amazon Echo speakers have multiple options while Google Home only has one.
It's slim pickings, but being able to choose between Alexa, Echo, Amazon, and Computer is way better than choosing between Hey Google and OK Google.
Multi-room music — Home has it, Echo does not
The only thing better than one Google Home is two Google Homes, at least when you're trying to play some music throughout your house.
Google Home is part of the Google Cast system, which means you can connect to any Google Home and play as one speaker and even add in Chromecast Audio speakers if you use the Chromecast function on your phone. Amazon Echo doesn't do anything even close to this yet.
Sleep Timer — Echo has it, Home does not
Listening to music or podcasts is one of the best parts of having a connected speaker nearby. Having that podcast continue on without you because you fell asleep halfway through is considerably less cool.
If you feel yourself getting tired, you can ask an Amazon Echo to set a sleep timer, which means when the timer ends whatever you are listening to stops. Google Home doesn't do this yet, and it really should when you consider how many things you can play through it.
Audiobooks — Echo has it, Home does not
Despite both Amazon and Google having book services which include the ability to read the book aloud to you, only the Echo supports audiobook playback through the speaker.
This is probably because Audible is the most popular audiobook service on the planet and an Amazon exclusive, but Google should still consider offering up an alternative.
Package tracking — Echo has it, Home does not
You can order things from both Amazon Echo and Google Home, but only one of these speakers lets you ask "where's my stuff" and get tracking information in response.
Amazon's tracking information is tied directly into its shopping system, which means the Echo is able to offer detailed explanations for order status that Home doesn't have access to right now.
Separate voice recognition — Home has it, Echo does not
Amazon and Google both support multiple users in Echo and Home now, but if you want to switch between users on an Echo you need to ask specifically for an account switch.
Google Home is far less limited, using voice detection to switch accounts just by picking up your voice and attaching it to your account.
Chromecast support — Home has it, Echo does not
You can control your television with an Amazon Echo and some additional accessories, but Google Home gives you control over the Chromecast.
Through the Google Chromecast support, it's possible to pick a video and send it to the television with just your voice. While it is playing, you also have the ability to play and pause with your voice. Currently, Amazon Echo can't do any of this.
Custom shortcuts — Home has it, Echo does not
For the most part, commands on Amazon Echo and Google Home are simple and easy to remember. That doesn't mean they're convenient, which is why Google allows for custom shortcuts when creating your own commands through IFTTT.
Where Amazon would have you say "Alexa, trigger lights out" to access your Light Out command in IFTTT, Google Home lets you not only simplify this to "Hey Google, lights out" but also set multiple custom command for this same action.
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