In a spur of the technological movement, the wo big companies create the promise of a future-ready home, with integrations to current smartphone and wireless technologies at the forefront of providing added value to the Internet of Things revolution. But the $US129 Google Home, which the company sent for me to review last week, stops short of that vision right now.
Standard to the voice assistant arsenal, Google Home can trigger music, podcasts, or radio from a simple voice command, pulling your favorite playlists from services like Spotify and Pandora. Amazon Prime members can use their voice to order anything on Amazon.com just by asking Alexa on their Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV, or Fire tablet.
Google has said that the promise of Google Home - its smart voice-activated speaker that's just launched in the USA - is that I won't have to break my stride to find a light switch, change the channel, search for music or type something into a search bar again.
The first batch of reviews for Google Home appear to mostly align with a single opinion: the speaker is an impressive addition to the home, but in some ways it's less reliable, and its Google Assistant-powered AI doesn't beat Amazon's Alexa in most instances. What if you have another device around with OK Google enabled? Google is set to go full in with the Google Home this Holiday season and attack Amazon's market share with the Echo. You'll need to get Chromecast Audio ($35) to connect Google home to an outside audio source. Google Home sells for $129 at Walmart, Target and Best Buy. Those are the only two commands that work. With the Google Home, I'm somewhat out of luck. A lot of applications haven't been programmed into these two devices yet, but their current offerings show a robust way for makers and creatives to integrate already-existing products and services with its features.
Google Home is pricier than the Echo, but in comparison, its improvements outweigh the price increase. It isn't as "smart" as Google Home is. When asked about a meatloaf recipe, Alexa offered a Bing search link, while Google Home dictated the steps.