How to choose between Alexa and Google Home

Undoubtedly Google Home and Alexa are revolutionizing our homes, making them increasingly smart and leaving only a memory of the now old remote control. These two technologies allow you to use your voice to perform so many tasks, such as playing music, listening to the news or adjusting the thermostat, plus soon they could also launch calls to say goodbye to landline phones. Choosing between the two voice assistant systems can be really difficult, so here's a comprehensive guide to figure out if Alexa or Google Home is better for your smart home.

Alexa: key features and functionality

Alexa is the voice assistant technology developed by Amazon, the online retail giant led by Jeff Bezos, based on a multi-function platform with support for cloud computing services. The voice assistant works through Amazon Echo smart speakers, devices that are very popular nowadays with a full line of devices that can meet every need, from the smallest and compact models such as Echo Dot to larger and more sophisticated ones such as Echo Plus and Echo Studio.

In addition, Amazon has created an entire ecosystem of devices and technologies around Alexa, such as Echo Auto to connect the car to residential home automation. Not to be underestimated are the Alexa-compatible services, most of them offered directly by Amazon, including Amazon Music and Music Unlimited, Prime Video, Prime Reading and Amazon Photos. Not to mention that you can buy lots of products that work with Alexa or that integrate it natively, from smart electrical outlets to smart TVs.

One of Alexa's strengths are Skills, the abilities that allow you to customize the voice assistant in a unique way, downloading a series of programs and features to make the voice assistant perfectly suited to your needs. At the moment, there are over a hundred thousand Skills for Alexa, through which you can know the weather forecast, find the recipes you want and stay informed about the latest news of the day.

Google Assistant is the technology developed by Google to compete not only with Alexa, but also with Bixby and Cortana on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Anyway, in the smart home automation sector, the duel is between Alexa and Google Assistant, the latter focusing on artificial intelligence, machine learning and the cloud, with a self-learning process that allows the voice assistant to get better and better.

This technology works with Google Home and Google Nest smart speakers, extremely compact but quite advanced devices. The strong point is undoubtedly the high level reached by the voice assistance system proposed by the Mountain View company, fruit of the experience made with the search engine and of many patents acquired on the use of artificial intelligence and the understanding of search intent. In addition, Google has taken advantage of the wide diffusion of Android devices, on which the voice assistant has already been available for many years.

Surely Google Home is a very effective system for residential home automation, as it is compatible with many services, often free, from YouTube to Gmail, with a truly remarkable ecosystem of Google apps with features for every need. The answers provided by Google Assistant are particularly precise, and they are personalized according to the user, and you can manage all services through your Google account.

The differences between Alexa and Google Home

After this initial presentation, it is important to understand the difference between Alexa and Google Home, in order to choose with greater awareness which technology to lean on to transform your home into a smart home. In addition, we must consider the rapid technological evolution of these years, with the acceleration for the IoT that will come with the new ultra-fast mobile connections of 5G and the integration between mobile and fixed fiber optic networks. Let's analyze the differences in detail to understand whether to opt for Alexa or Google Home.

Smart Functionality

Because they are two innovative technologies for voice assistance, let's start with the smart functionality, to see which of the two systems offers the most advanced and complete solution. In this case, the two voice assistants are very similar to each other, in fact they allow you to do practically everything, from answering general questions to performing precise tasks, such as informing about the weather or playing a piece of music.

Google Home, however, remains more intuitive and simple to manage and configure, since the system is ready to use and provides all the main functions for home automation and entertainment, although the experience is predefined. Alexa, on the other hand, is Skills-bound, so it's important to customize it by choosing the right skills, in order to increase its capabilities according to one's needs and the devices to be integrated into the smart home, with the user playing an active part in setting up the voice assistance system.

Vocal Assistant

On this point, it must be acknowledged that Google Assistance, the voice assistance technology embedded within Google Home smart speakers, is more evolved than Alexa. The responses of the Google system are very effective, moreover its native capabilities are really powerful, however if it does not understand the question it can get confused, moreover in Italian it has not reached the accuracy of the English version. Alexa's comprehension is slightly lower, but it manages to do so many things and is integrated with e-commerce and Amazon services, an aspect not to be underestimated.

Compatibility with other technologies

It is unthinkable to use only branded products, so it is important that voice assistants are as compatible as possible with third-party technologies and devices. In this case, Alexa is ahead of Google Home, mainly due to Skills that make the skills the voice assistant can acquire almost endless, as well as high integration with numerous devices. Google Home has a narrower ecosystem, in fact it is designed to work in the Google services system, targeting especially Android users.

Smart home

Both Google Home and Alexa are really good for entertainment, making our lives easier when we are at home. For residential home automation both of them offer a valid technology on which to develop the smart home, however you have to consider the services used and focus on one of the two solutions, as this approach makes everything easier. In any case, it is important to always check the compatibility of the smart devices to be installed, otherwise you can use platforms that work as adapters solving any communication problems.

Audio quality

Google Home and Alexa can do practically everything, however one of the main functionalities remains listening to music being integrated in the smart speakers. On this aspect, Alexa with Amazon Echo is better than Google Home and Assistant, as it ensures high-quality audio with crisp, deep bass and powerful, balanced sound. Obviously you can connect to other speakers and sound systems, however from the start Amazon Echo devices provide better performance for the sound.

Design and prices

Regarding the design Google Home devices are modern and elegant, with a compact sizing to optimize the available space, however they are quite powerful and provide good quality audio, although the offer is rather limited. Amazon Echo devices also offer an attractive and appreciable aesthetics, plus the catalog is more extensive with several models to choose from and a wide range of color options available to users.

On price the choice between Google Home or Alexa is difficult, in fact both offer cheaper entry level products and more expensive and powerful devices, in any case Amazon's Echo line is more varied and offers more solutions. On the integrated services those of Google Home are almost all free, at least in the basic version, while Alexa is also linked to paid applications and especially to services that revolve around the Amazon Prime subscription, which, however, has a low price.

Better Google Home or Alexa: here's which to choose and why

Choosing whether it is better Alexa or Google Home is certainly a difficult decision, in fact both are innovative technologies, advanced and appropriate for the smart home. Generally speaking, Google Home is more accurate in answering questions, with a more advanced voice assistant system and an understanding of language unmatched at the moment. Alexa, on the other hand, offers better sound quality, more customization and management that leaves enough freedom to the user.

Google Home is a perfect solution for customers of the Mountain View company's services, such as Android, Gmail, Google Drive, Calendar, YouTube and Stadia. Alexa is ideal for Amazon Prime subscribers, those who frequently buy on the American e-commerce and use Amazon's premium services. For home automation, Alexa seems to be further ahead than Google Home, thanks to a lot of products with Alexa integrated and a wide range of devices to buy directly on the portal, from smart lights to compatible smart hubs.

Anyhow, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, so you need to consider your needs, the services you use most often and the type of device to connect to the voice assistant. At the moment, Google Home is more restricted to Google users, while Alexa offers more options and greater freedom of choice, but both technologies are very valid and in continuous evolution, ready to become indispensable assistants to make our lives easier and smarter.