The number of smart devices that can be used for the home is increasing. Whether you are slowly converting your home into a smart home, or are designing a new smart home for you and your family to enjoy, there are numerous smart home devices from which you can choose. These smart home devices can be easily controlled through an app that they come with.
With a smart home, you don’t need only one functioning smart home device; you need a system of smart home devices that work harmoniously with each other to provide you with a more comfortable experience. Connecting these smart home devices is possible through the use of smart hubs.
Several smart hubs are available in the market today. Among the most popular of them all are the Wink and Samsung SmartThing hubs. These two hubs are capable of connecting tomultiple devices in your home. They also connect to your home network through Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection.
They make it possible for you to control all of your smart home devices with just a single app in your phone, tablet or PC. They also make it possible for the smart devices to work together to create the setting you wish to have.
Through the app, you can set up a schedule and various smart home devices to your liking. If these automations are still not enough for you and you are still searching for something better, then you may be interested in controlling your smart home devices through voice commands.
For some, this may sound too futuristic, but this is actually available today through the use of additional technological devices. These devices can be classified as smart home controllers, which improve how you control your smart devices through voice commands.
Amazon Echo is one of the first products that allows you to control your smart devices through voice. Amazon has also released several more products that are similar to the Amazon Echo, like the Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Tap. For a while, they dominated the field without any competition but finally, there is a contender. Google Home is one of the first competitor of the Amazon Echo when it comes to voice control over smart home devices.
Smart home device compatibility
Amazon Echo and Google Home both help improve control over the smart home devices, but they cannot be used to replace the hubs. They are only a means to help control the different smart devices through voice activation. Hubs are still very useful in forming the smart system and in creating schedules or settings for your smart devices.
These two products are similar to each other because they have the same goal or function when it comes to using them with smart home devices. They are also built with speakers and are capable of playing the songs you like. Both of them also answer your questions to the best of their abilities using the internet.
When it comes to being a smarthome controller, the Amazon Echo is a clear winner. They have been in this market longer, and that has helped them to be more compatible with the smart devices that currently are available. They have also made several improvements to reach where they are today. On the other hand, Google Home is still a good contender. It is still fairly new to the smart home system and you can still upgrade and make changes to improve their product.
Currently, Amazon Echo is capable of directly controlling more smart home products as compared to Google Home, which makes it a better smart home controller. The Amazon Echo uses Alexa as means to control various smart home products. Through the skills that Alexa has, more than 10,000 and still increasing, most smart home devices can now be controlled with it.
Skills are apps made by third-party providers that can be used with the Amazon Echo to enable voice control on the device. This means that even if the smart device is not directly compatible with the Echo, there are apps that can be used to enable the voice control. Many of the newly created devices have also decided to be compatible with the Alexa because it is the only one of its kind in the market.
On the other hand, when Google Home was first released, there were only four platforms compatible with it: SmartThings, Nest, IFTTT and Philips Hue. Although there are only four compatible platforms, these four still enabled the Google Home to control more smart devices. The catch is that the response time can a bit delayed because commands still need to go through the cloud.
Recently, Google Home had an update and through the update, it is now possible for Google Home to work with other smart home device companies such as August, Wink, First Alert, Vivint, Anova, Greeni, Lifx, Rachio, Frigidaire, Logitech Harmony, TP-Link, and Best Buy Insignia. Google Home is trying to catch up with the number of compatible platforms, but there is still a long way to go. The good thing about Google Home is that they work well with the devices with which they are compatible.
Winner: Amazon Echo
In order for you to successfully command the smart devices through voice, you need to make sure that the controllers can hear you. The Amazon Echo can hear you well because of the 7 multi-directional microphones that are inside the unit. Similarly, Google Home can hear you well because they both support long-range hearing devices.
To improve coverage for a larger home, it is possible and advisable to have several units spread out in the home. In this way, you can make sure that the controllers can clearlyhear you wherever you are in your home.
Google Home and Amazon Echo work in such a way that when multiple units are in your home and multiple units hear you say the wake words, they will light up, but only the closest to you will respond to the command.
Winner: It’s a tie
Another worthy comparison is user interface. Here, we can compare whether it is easy or difficult to command the controllers to perform a task. Naming the different devices in your home as they are discovered by the controllers helps identify which devices you are commanding to perform a task.
With the Amazon Echo, it is possible for you to name a device and even group several devices and set a name for that group so that they can be controlled with just one command. You just have to take note about naming the groups and the different devices, and make sure that they don’t sound similar to each other; similar-sounding names can confuse Alexa, and it can result in the wrong device performing the action you want.
Although Google Home has fewer compatible devices that it can work with; it works well with these select number of devices. For example, it is possible for you to command the Nest thermostat to increase the temperature by saying “Hey Google, increase temperature to 68 degrees,” or you can also say “Hey Google, make it warmer.” Both commands will raise the temperature of the thermostat because it is able to understand both sentences.
Multiple Google Home devicescan also work with each other. This is the reason why you can instruct the Google Home device in the kitchen to play a soothing lullaby in the Google Home device that is found in the nursery. This is a feature that is not present on the Amazon Echo controller.
Winner: Google Home
Privacy and security
The microphones of Google Home and Amazon Echo are always on, which is why some may worry about the devices recording everything that it hears. Both parties say that they will only record the command or question that you say after the wake-up words are said. In addition, both units also have a mute button that will enable the microphone to be turned off for more privacy.
Due to a voice-controlled device, they are really programmed to listen to every sound you make, unless muted. They perform various commands depending on what they hear; that is why they should always be ready to hear what you command. For privacy’s sake, it is also possible to delete recordings for both the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but deleting such recordings can affect how the units responds to your requests, questions or preferences.
The cost of Google Home and Amazon Echo
For those in the US, the Google Home retails for $129.00 while the Amazon Echo costs $179.99. If you are in the UK, you can purchase the Google Home for £129.00 and the Amazon Echo for £149.99. A more affordable alternative to Amazon Echo is the Amazon Echo Dot which has a price of only £49.99 in the UK and $49.99 in the US. The Amazon Echo Dot is similar to the Amazon Echo except for the quality of the speaker. If you want decent sound, then you need to have a wired speaker or Bluetooth speaker working with the Amazon Echo Dot.
The design of these smart controllers
Google Home may be new to this field, but they have provided a more customizable unit for their clients. Google Home is shaped like a small vase or an air freshener. The bottom part of the controller can be changed into either a fabric or metal grille. The grilles are also available in a variety of colors.
On the other hand, the Amazon Echo provides asleeker design. It comes in a cylindrical shape and is available in black or white. The Amazon Echo Dot is of the same circumference as the Amazon Echo, but it is much shorter than the former.
There are several Google services that are offered by Google Home such as Gmail, maps, calendar and Android services. You can have different users by simply loggingin to your account. This helps make sure that your preferences are noted.
Apart from this, it is also capable of working with other Google gadgets such as Chromecast. With this it is possible to command Google Home verbally to show you your photos or a video using your TV. The only drawback is that you also need to switch on the TV by using the remote.
Google services are great for Android users but for those who have other devices, Amazon Echo is also a great choice. Amazon Echo was the first of its kind, and this made many different brands of smart devices build their products to be compatible with Alexa.
Those who have an existing smart home kit may also find that the Amazon Echo works better for them. There are more devices with which the Amazon Echo is compatible and it is a safer choice than selectingGoogle Home that may not be compatible with many of your previous smart home devices.
The future of Google Home
Google Home is fairly new to the market. It’s competitor, the Amazon Echo, has been around for the past two years; that is why they already work well with other brands of smart devices. Google Home still needs to work with many other brands but they are gradually getting there. Recently, a Google Home update made it possible for 12 different brands of smart devices to be compatible with their voice prompted commands.
Unlike Amazon Echo,which has several variations such as the Amazon Echo Dot or the Tap, Google Home currently doesn’t have such variations. In the future, Google may or may not develop other devices; it will depend on how successful itis on the market. We may also look forward to other developments and upgrades of Google Home so that it can catch up with what Echo currently offers.
Choosing between Amazon Echo and Google Home
When choosing a suitable controller for your smart home, it is best to weigh in the different features that each product has. It is also best to take a look at the smart devices that you already have in your home. Both of the controllers are capable of working with most of your smart home devices through third-party apps, but it would be more convenient if you are sure that the smart devices can work well with your chosen controller. Even if you find that Google Home performs better than the Amazon Echo, if the devices are not compatible with it, it will be of no use to you and your home.
If voice control over your smart home devices is your main concern, then you can settle for the cheapest alternative, and that is the Amazon Echo Dot. It performs just as well as the original Amazon Echo without the louder speakers. If you really need the speakers, then you can also choose the Amazon Echo instead.
Choosing between the two home controllers for your smart home system is a tough choice because both are capable of working well. Both will likely release different updates that will further improve their service. The best deciding factor can be the smart home devices that you already have or those that you are planning to buy.
Improvements in the technology enable us not only to have smart home devices to use in our homes, but also hubs that connect them and voice controllers that improve how they are used. All of these are very important in the creation of a working smart home system.
Smart home controllers, such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, both enable hands- free control over smart devices at home. By simply saying commands or trigger words, it is possible to lock the doors, switch off the lights, and increase or decrease the room temperature.
Although Amazon Echo was released two years earlierthan Google Home, the latter is still trying its best to catch up with what Amazon Echo has to offer. The main reason why most people choose Amazon Echo is because of the wide range of products that it is compatible with. On the other hand, others believe that the Google Home is a better product because of its performance and usability.
The choice between the two products is highly dependent on the user and on what you intend to use it with. Compatibility wise, Amazon Echo is the best choice, but when it comes to the performance in how users interact with controllers, Google Home is a better choice. Further improvements and updates will still tell whether the Google Home can catch up to the wide range of compatible products Amazon Echo has to offer.