Google Home vs. Amazon Echo?


(Sean Murray) #1

Can anyone who’s used both comment on whether one seems more natural than the other in terms of interacting with SmartThings? I currently have an Echo, but am wondering how my experience would change using Google Home.


(Megan) #2

I have both. Really it is a toss up for the basic functionality. When you add in Ask Alexa and Google Home Helper, the landscape changes a bit. Ask Alexa seems a bit deeper integration, but given google just opened the API, that could change in quick order.


(Joe) #3

It depends on what I want to do with smartthings. If its just a light then I seem to ask alexa. If its a room I ask GH. Questions I always ask GH but that wasn’t your question. I do this becuase GH still has issues with the word light in the name and I hate having to remember what I nicknamed everything in GH, Also I have a living room siren and not even in GH living room. But if I say turn on living room that siren sounds. And GH seems to think you say on when you say off allot.


#4

As I stated in another Google Home thread, GH is much better than the Echo. In my opinion.

After I added my SmartThings to the GH, all I had to play with was the nicknames and rooms.

  • Bonus. I find GH is better at controlling my thermostat.

  • Multi room Audio is Great capability and is a lot cheaper to achive with $25 Chromecast audio with mostly inexpencive speakers.

  • Casting to a Dumb TV with an HDMI port is great. I have a 41" LCD TV and it was usless since I don’t get cable and just stream from XBMC/Kodi, Netflix, Youtube.

  • Since last night officially, I can tell this to Google Home:
    Me: Hey Google, Play Luke Cage on my TV.
    GH: Playing Luke Cage from Netflix on Living room TV.
    Me: Hey Google, Thanks!
    GH: You got it.

  • Audio Options.
    You can tell GH to play your prefered music choice on GH itself, on a Chromecast connected speaker, or tell it to play on a group of speakers in your home which may include Chromecast devices and GH linked.

Some of the use cases for me.

The only quark is if you ask it to tell a joke, it has the ability to tell you from a real Dumb joke to something that a highly educated person will get. I wouldn’t mind having the ability to entertain my kid by asking GH to tell a Kids joke and have it tell us one.


(Joe) #5

I would agree if you get the nicknames down for GH it is by far better. Alexa cant set my ecobees even with the skill enabled. GH can natively. But I do keep my alexa’s and dots around for the time being.

Also it could be me but mine respond instantly to ok google and sometimes trouble with hey google. I would prefer just google. Or a choice of one word like alexa can.


(Kurt Sanders) #6

I have one main Amazon Echo and 2 Echo Dots throughout the house. These devices are able to completely control any of my Harmony connected entertainment devices and all of my SmartThing connected home devices. I am able to turn on/off my five Sonos systems, change volume, get temp/pump/lights status and control my WiFi connected Hot Tub, lock/unlock door locks, control two Ecobee Thermostats with 6 remote sensors, obtain realtime status and arm/disarm my Honeywell/Ademco home alarm, open/close my three Liftmaster Garage Doors, etc.

I am completely satisfied with with the selection of Amazon Music for playback on any/all of my sonos and Echo devices. With all the custom capability of using AWS (Python or Java) and Intent Skills, the sky is the limit for creating cloud device connect ability as I have with my internal Raspberry Pi servers.

The only upside I can tell with GH is that it seems much better at answering random questions than the Echo.


#7

And now it can Cast your Netflix account to you connected TV too and is cheaper on multi room audio than SONOS. And is better at understanding me and my wife than my 2, 2nd Gen Dots which are now in my storage room.


(Joe) #8

Echo does well. But not as well as GH. Plus I get tired of OK especially when it doesn’t do what I ask. If you have the time and set up GH properly in the app it controls allot better then echo. Like dimming, changing light color and controlling thermostats which echo tells me its unable to do at this time. And I have the ecobee skill enabled. GH has no problem changing the temp. And I like to sleep in the cold but not get out the bed and GH helps me with that as I can change it by voice.


(Neal (www.zebrablinds.com / www.zebrablinds.ca)) #9

Well… for those who want an alternative to to saying google… Boo Boo works. I kid you not. Go and say “Hey Boo Boo” to your google home… it responds :joy:


(Joe) #10

I got to try that. That’s one of my only issues with GH. It responds great to ok google 50/50 with hey google. Wish it could just be one name like alexa or echo.


(Neal (www.zebrablinds.com / www.zebrablinds.ca)) #11

I would prefer one word as well. Thought about using the echo mainly but I am fairly well integrated in Google’s ecosystem so sticking with it for now. I sold my echo and only have one dot left. I have 4 google homes currently.


(Joe) #12

Yeah me to execpt I am big into prime but that really is only music and some alexa deals. Only need one for that. Thinking of selling some of my 8 amazon devices. maybe keep 2 and get some more GH. I also just got google wifi and wow!


#13

Different people have different preferences and home set ups, so they’ll like different voice devices.

There’s no question google home is much better at casting music in multi room situations and chromecast. It’s also better at asking a series of homework helper kind of questions.

We tried Google home at our house for five days and ended up returning it for two reasons.

First, google home only has microphones on two sides and echo has nine. Our house has an open floor plan, and the echo was way better at hearing us from several different directions. So at our house echo covered a lot more space.

Second, Google keeps trying to guess what group you want your devices in, like the siren example that @joewom mentioned, and we just had all kinds of problems with that. We have ceiling lights in three rooms, called JD’s ceiling light, Michael’s ceiling light, and kitchen ceiling light. Google home kept trying to treat those as a group and when you turned one of them off it would turn all of them off. With echo, we decide what the group should be called, we decide what devices should be in it, and we can put a device in as many different groups as we want. For us, that just turned out to be way more practical.

We also don’t use the homework helper kind of feature, we just do that on our phones if we want that kind of information.

So both devices have pluses and minuses, and I’m sure they’ll each add some of the features that the other currently has over the next year. This will be good for customers of both.

As far as which is more “conversational,” I don’t think either really is. Most of the commercials and blog entries that show you asking multiple questions of Google edit out the fact that you still have to say “OK Google” every single time. So if you say “OK Google, who played Chewbacca?” The next question has to be “OK Google, what other movies was he in?” Which doesn’t feel conversational to me, even though it’s obviously impressive that Google home knows who “he” refers to in the second question. And to me, there’s not that much difference between that and “Alexa, who played Chewbacca?” “Alexa, what movies was Peter Mayhew in?”

But it is true that you can edit some of the acknowledgement responses that Google Home gives, so it can feel more conversational the first time. But once it said the same cute thing every day for four or five days, it doesn’t feel as conversational anymore.

So I think it all comes down to how you use it in your particular household. Choice is good. :sunglasses:


Z wave Light switches keep getting grouped together with Goggle Home
(Joe) #14

You are absolutely right. Why I find myself still using echo for home automation. except a few exceptions. However I still strongly believe google will surpass amazon if they don’t up there game. Google is spitting out services left and right these days for GH.


(Neal (www.zebrablinds.com / www.zebrablinds.ca)) #15

For me the biggest problem I ran into was with the actual Speech To Text/Recognition of what was being said on Alexa. My parent’s have an accent and the Google Home understands them considerably better over Alexa when they are around.

I have one Google Home connected in our main foyer which every room in our Ground Floor goes to and its been hearing us as well as Alexa. But as you said floor layout will affect things a lot.

Also being in Canada everything works right out of the box with GH vs Echo.


#16

Tell me how reliable it is in relation to your old router. I am getting one soon and want someonce perspective on it.


(Joe) #17

been rock solid. Easy to set up. I pre ordered and thought it would take a long time and I ordered eero. Got them both the same day lol. It was way better the eero which I am now selling. Even after the eero updated. I have a 3000 sq ft house and I get strong wifi throughout now when I didn’t with my old one which as no slouch. DLINK AC 5300 tri band. I see my advertised speeds on the main AP and second the third one which is clear across the house in the laundry room gets about 75% which is about 90mbs. I was getting 10 before if I could get it at all. and at 5ghz. I am going to add one more AP and try to Ethernet back haul 3 of them.


#18

Thank you for that.


(Joe) #19

no problem. My only fear is Google gives up on it. But its back ordered everywhere and selling for 500-600 on ebay which I thought about doing and keep the eero for a while but didn’t So it must be well received. Most of the decisions and all it makes is in the cloud. And its updated automatically. Supposed to be adding MIMIO in the next update. They been sending updates 2-4 times a month since release.


#20

The question I have for the Netflix integration is is Netflix running off of a phone and android TV or Apple TV box or a smart app on their TV question and how does Google know which Netflix to launch ?