Google Home Initial Review (Vs. Alexa)

Posted By Aung Nay on Nov 6, 2016

First Impressions

Spending two years with Alexa has shaped what I should expect from Google Home in many ways. Right out of the box, Google Home impressed my with it potential. However, it is still a work in progress and has room to grow.

Smarter than Alexa

Google Assistant can handle more complex sentences than Alexa. And being able to understand things in context is a huge advantage that Google has over Alexa.

Smart Home Support is Limited (But IFTTT Saves The Day)

Google Home will play catch up on the smart home front for the near foreseeable future. At the same time, any user will immediately recognize the potential of Google Home relative to Alexa. Google Home currently works with Nest and the ability to communicate with Nest got so much better, compared to Alexa. Even though, smart home support is limited, most of the platforms can be access through IFTTT. Unlike Alexa, the connection with IFTTT felt natural, almost like native support. You don’t have to use trigger words like “Trigger”. It just works. And it’s pretty fast too. There’s a catch though. You will have to create individual applets on IFTTT for each command you want to use.

Chromecast Super Powers

Chromecast is awesome. Google Home made it awesomer.

Shopping List

Shopping list on Alexa was useful but at the same time inefficient. So we have been using Google Keep for our home shopping list. It works really well from our Android Wear watches. Google Home will make shopping list that much more useful because it uses Google Keep for the shopping list.

Home and People Problem

Most homes are occupied by more than one individual. To allow only a single Google account on Home is a fundamental flaw that should have never existed. It should be able to handle multiple Google accounts and differentiate which accounts belong to who through voice identification.

Service Disappointments

Being used to Ok Google on my 6P, I expected some of the services to carry over, particularly the messaging or email for that matter.

Design Flaw

When using Alexa, the Echo lights up with a blue ring to let me know that it has been activated. Google home has similar lit up system as well. But you cannot see it from every direction. That’s a severe and another fundamental flaw that should have been avoided.

What’s Next

I suspect, Google will have a 2nd version of Home that I will have to buy again that will fix the physical design flaw. Software will definitely improve over time. I suspect there will be a development war of sort between Google and Amazon. And I am looking forward to it and expect to benefit significantly from it.

Another issue will be for most users will be which ecosystem you are going to invest in. After all, a lone Alexa or Google Home device will not be sufficient. For me, I will need at least 5: living area (living room, dining room and kitchen), bedroom, exercise room, basement, and my home office. Alexa will be cheaper for me at $379 vs. Google Home with $650.

P.S. The mic array on Google Home might not be as good as Alexa. But we shall see.

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