Amazon Echo (Amazon).
For decades, we have seen that people are talking computers in science fiction movies. Dave said HAL. Michael Knight was assisted by KITT. Captain Picard directed “Computer”. The computers were smart and handsome, and they (mostly) did what she was told.
When Amazon’s Echo is on the market two years ago, this dream came true — kind of. The Echo was an affordable futuristic device that responded to voice commands. You may ask: “Alexa” a question and get an answer immediately. This little black cylinder is clearly not fully on the artificial intelligence, but it is impressed by customers.
Now there is Google Home page, a similar device that rivals Echo in every respect. If these high-tech machines that compete for domination, the natural question is: Which one is better? I’ve tried both of them, and I can tell you that each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Here are a few highs and lows about Amazon Echo and Google Home page. For more details, click here for my handy, side-by-side comparison chart.
Both devices are stylish and sophisticated, like a small modernist sculptures. Their simplicity makes them suitable just about anywhere, but they would probably look the best on a Swedish racks.
The 9.2-inch high Amazon Echo looks like a small black tower with a blue circle that lights up on the top. It has seven microphones, so it easily picks up sound from any direction. It is a nice addition to the Echo-Stip, a separate device that looks like a hockey puck and is designed to assist you in delivering speech commands on other locations in your house.
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The 5.6-inch high Google Home page is in the form of a small vase. The housing is white, but the base color can be exchanged.
Home looks a little like an air freshener. Echo looks kind of like a Pringles container designed for Darth vader. But both are very smooth devices that should be well at home in each house.
Here is the million dollar question: How well do they respond to the human voice?
You can activate a device by saying its name: For Amazon Echo, would you say, “Alexa, what time is it?” For Google Home you would say: “OK, Google, what time is it?” As long as you speak in English and still not consume a whole bottle of wine, both devices should recognize of your questions and tell you the time.
The big difference is that each device frame of reference: Echo will take you to Amazon Assistant, which can be a powerful tool for a lot of questions, such as “What will the weather be tomorrow?” and “What year was Dr. Zhivago’ is released?”
Home-brings you to the oceanic knowledge of Google. You will be amazed of how many Google Home know, and you can even ask follow-up questions. For example, you might ask, “in What year did Charles Lindbergh as the first to fly across the Atlantic ocean?” Then you might ask, “Where did he land?” Google Home page should remember the previous question and know that you still have questions about Charles Lindbergh.
No system to turn in your virtual best friend. The Echo answers who, when, and what to ask such as weather forecasts, sports updates, and measuring conversions. Much of the time, it will politely admit that in the war. Home seems to be a bit smarter, due to the large Google infrastructure it relies on.
But no matter which one you choose, it will sing for you happy birthday on request.
Many customers get so wrapped up in the interactive skills of the Echo, and the House that they forget about these devices started as audio speakers.
Here is the bottom line: Bluetooth speakers will never sound as good as the cord on the basis of the speakers. Real audiophiles will balk at all of the Bluetooth speakers, regardless of how high-tech, because they can never capture the brightness of their predecessors.
That said, these are very nice speakers for casual listening, and they can fill a room with music. Both devices can stream music via the usual services of Spotify, Pandora and Pandora — and each device has its own music service: Echo connects with Amazon Prime Music, at Home and connects to Google Play.
Google Home page is very impressive, putting the “smart” in “smart speaker.” But the Echo has a two-year advantage, and Amazon has spent this time cultivating its third-party support.
With Echo, you can connect with Audible, the tracking of your missing smartphone, games to play and to items on Amazon.com. In smart homes, you can even change the lighting and switch on your security system. With 3,000 individual skills, Echo has come a long way in a short time. It is unbelievable how much power you can open by saying: “Alexa…”
Google Home page also connects your smart devices and a whole range of apps, but it is not yet refined its network as much as Echo. Google can retrieve, but for the moment Echo of the head of the trip.
For Amazon or Google to answer your questions on the question, they have to listen the whole time. According to Amazon, when Alexa will detect her wake up and glows blue, the flows “a fraction of a second of audio before the wake word” to the servers of Amazon, and connect as soon as your order is processed. That fraction of a second is saved along with your main assignment.
House works in a similar way. It constantly listens for the phrase “OK Google.” Once detected, the LED lights activate and the recording is sent to Google’s servers.
I wrote an article about how these devices are always listening, and what steps you can take to delete your recordings. Click here for more information about this now.
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Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com