It didn't take long for a tech company to copy Amazon Echo.
Now you just have to decide which speaker assistant of the two you want.
To help make that process a little easier for you, we've compared the two. Here are the primary differences between Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Design
Google Home's design was inspired by wine glasses and candles, Google said. Home's base casing can be swapped out for different shells to match your furniture (there are six shells in fabric or metal). It has a sloped top, with a touch-capacitive display and four LEDs to provide visual feedback. There is only one physical mute button at the back, which you can press to prevent Google from listening to "hot words".
Amazon actually offers a few different versions of Echo, but we'll focus on the original, canister-shaped model for this comparison. Echo is a 9.25-inch-tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. The outside has perforation for the speaker grille, while the top has a ring of light that you can turn to adjust volume and buttons for mute and activation. The speaker only comes in black or white colours.
Keep in mind Amazon's Echo lineup offers tiered-speaker heights that remind us of Starbucks coffee sizes. Alongside Echo, Amazon offers two sibling speakers that debuted in March 2016 in the US, called Amazon Tap and Echo Dot, each of which are available at different price points. To learn more about the different models, check out our comparison.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Voice assistant
Google Home will let you ask Google anything, thanks to its Google Assistant AI. You will have access to Google's 17 years of search experience, which allows you to ask specific questions such as "How much fat is in an avocado?" or "What is Wayne Rooney's shirt number?" Those types of questions would stump Amazon Echo, but not Google. You can even ask for the weather or check Wikipedia.
Because Google Home has Google Assistant, you can be conversational and ask follow-up questions like "Where did he go to school?" Google Home will be able to connect the "he" pronoun to your previous question about, say, Rooney (or whoever) in order to serve up an accurate answer. You can also ask complex stuff like "What was the US population when NASA was established?"
Google Home will give you immediate answers each time. It can also read the relevant part of webpages back to you. Google Assistant on Google Home is the same as Assistant on Android phones. To learn more about Google Assistant, check out Pocket-lint's in-depth look at the virtual AI assistant.
Similar to Google Assistant, Amazon Echo has Alexa - which is another type of assistant. It is capable of understanding simple commands, or even a series of simple commands, but they're fairly basic and not conversational. And the default search engine is Bing. Still, Alexa will play music, provide information, deliver news and sports scores, tell you weather, and control devices.
It will even allow Amazon Prime members to order products they've ordered before. Alexa updates through the cloud automatically and learns all the time. The more you use Echo, the more Alexa adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences. To learn more about Amazon Alexa, check out Pocket-lint's in-depth look at the digital assistant.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Smart home
Google Home can be a control centre for your entire home, because it has access to Google Assistant. Not only will let you do the basics like set alarms and timers and manage to-do lists and shopping lists, but it will also connect your smarthome devices and includes support for popular network systems. That means you will be able to control smart lights, switches, doors, and more.
At launch, Google Home works with Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, and IFTTT. Google Home also acts as a Chromecast receiver. So, with just your voice, you'll be able to ask Google Assistant to adjust your Nest Thermostat or turn off your Philips Hue lights or fling content via Chromecast to your TV. Google plans to work with more partners so you can control more things in the home.
Thanks to Alexa, the Amazon Echo can also respond to your voice commands and control any Alexa-enabled products, such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more. Simply ask Alexa to switch on a lamp, turn on the fan, dim the lights, or increase the temperature. Some products work directly with Alexa and other smart home ecosystems require a compatible hub.
Featured brands that work with Echo include Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, Wemo, Insteon, Wink, and Honeywell. You can find a full list of compatible devices and shop for these devices from here on Amazon. Because Echo has been around for a couple years longer than Google Home, it got a head start and already has tonnes of partnerships lined up - from in-car to at-home and beyond.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Integrations
Google is working with developers so you can control things beyond the home too, such as booking a car, ordering dinner, or sending flowers to a loved one. And the best part is you will be able to do this with just your voice.
At launch, Google Home works with YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. With support for these services, you can ask, "OK Google, play that Shakira song from Zootopia." Without having to name the song, Home can figure it out and play it from your favourite app. Thanks to Google Assistant and its machine-learning capabilities, Google Home knows you and your preferences.
Amazon has also been working with developers to include support for Echo, and a few of the standout apps include Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, TuneIn, iHeart Radio, NPR, Google Calendar, Uber, and Dominos. At the beginning of 2016, Amazon bragged that more than 130 apps supported Amazon Echo and Alexa voice commands. Again, it's had the time to grow these relationships.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Audio
Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker that can stream music directly from the cloud. Google said it will deliver rich bass and clear highs - thanks to dual side-facing passive radiators - all from a compact form factor. If you prefer, you can send music from your Android or iOS device through Google Cast. That last bit is important because, with Google Cast support, you'll be able to use Google Home to control other connected speakers.
You'll even get multi-room playback, meaning you can add one or more Google Home devices to a group of speakers in order to blast tunes throughout your home. But that's not all: Google Home will let you control your video content. Let's say you want to watch the latest episode of your favourite Netflix show or some sort of cat video on YouTube. Just issue a voice command to Google Home, and the content will appear on your TV.
Amazon Echo is a Bluetooth speaker, so it can play music and be controlled from any device that supports Bluetooth audio streaming. It's a 1.0 channel speaker, meaning that it is a single speaker with one tweeter and one woofer. In our review of the device, we thought Amazon could've done better in the sound department. Also, Amazon Echo doesn't currently support multiroom audio. It is possible, however, to link it to a more powerful music system for improved quality - which is how many will use it.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Price
Google Home is available in the US, priced $129. It will be available in the UK from 6 April, priced £129.
Amazon Echo is available in the US, priced $179. It's £149 in the UK. There's always the Echo Dot - a smaller, speaker-free, still voice-activated version of the Echo - priced at $50/£50 instead.
The winner? It's a tricky one to call.
While Google Home looks better than Amazon Echo and offers more colour options, Echo is available in different form factors.
Google Home comes out of the gate with some great partnerships (IFTTT, Nest, Spotify, etc), but Echo already works with many of these and has been building its devices/services portfolio for a couple years. Amazon has the head start.
In terms of audio quality, we think Google Home has the edge. However, many people will probably use both devices connected to other, better speaker outputs - which is possible for either device.
Where the devices really differ is in conversational ability. Amazon may have more apps, but Google Assistant is better at threading together questions and providing answers from a wider source base. It's the Google Assistant feature which has the opportunity to really standout.