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  1. #1
    Lesser Hivemind Node Matt_W's Avatar
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    Amazon Echo vs. Google Home

    I picked up an Echo Dot because they're $50 and I was intrigued. I spent a couple hours last night drunkenly spouting questions at it. Verdict: what it's got is an always on feature. You can shout at it anytime and it will do your bidding. (As long as your bidding is to toggle the lights or play a song available on Amazon Music.) What it doesn't have--and this is really the killer--is Google. I have an Android phone so I know just what Google search by voice is capable of, and Alexa is a pale pale imitation. (Alexa uses--ugh--Bing to beef up its results.) Alexa will give you your commute time, but only if you preload your commute into the app. It's hopeless at determining what you want by context. I asked it driving time to Legoland and it gave me distance to the Legoland in Europe before conceding that it doesn't know how fast I'm going so can't give me driving times. I say "Como estas?" and it says (in a terrible accent) "Muy bien, but that's about all the Spanish I know." It can't translate anything, professing only to know English. In other words has no access to Google Translate. It can do basic math, but nothing more complicated. It tells me the distance to Titan is 750,000 miles, which is its average distance from Saturn. (Google gives the correct answer when I voice search it.) Amazon's got a nascent ecosystem of smart devices and "Skill" (=app) developers for Echo, but it's not quite there yet, and when Google releases its Home device in November, Amazon won't be able to compete.

    I'll keep Alexa around for awhile to play music for me, and it is undeniably cool to walk into the apartment, say "Alexa, lights!" and have the lights turn on, but the engine for this kind of device is search, and no one beats Google at that game.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_W View Post
    I picked up an Echo Dot because they're $50 and I was intrigued. I spent a couple hours last night drunkenly spouting questions at it. Verdict: what it's got is an always on feature. You can shout at it anytime and it will do your bidding. (As long as your bidding is to toggle the lights or play a song available on Amazon Music.) What it doesn't have--and this is really the killer--is Google. I have an Android phone so I know just what Google search by voice is capable of, and Alexa is a pale pale imitation. (Alexa uses--ugh--Bing to beef up its results.) Alexa will give you your commute time, but only if you preload your commute into the app. It's hopeless at determining what you want by context. I asked it driving time to Legoland and it gave me distance to the Legoland in Europe before conceding that it doesn't know how fast I'm going so can't give me driving times. I say "Como estas?" and it says (in a terrible accent) "Muy bien, but that's about all the Spanish I know." It can't translate anything, professing only to know English. In other words has no access to Google Translate. It can do basic math, but nothing more complicated. It tells me the distance to Titan is 750,000 miles, which is its average distance from Saturn. (Google gives the correct answer when I voice search it.) Amazon's got a nascent ecosystem of smart devices and "Skill" (=app) developers for Echo, but it's not quite there yet, and when Google releases its Home device in November, Amazon won't be able to compete.

    I'll keep Alexa around for awhile to play music for me, and it is undeniably cool to walk into the apartment, say "Alexa, lights!" and have the lights turn on, but the engine for this kind of device is search, and no one beats Google at that game.
    Interesting, I had been looking at the Echo but hadn't even considered that it wouldn't have access to that. Terrible.]

    Presumably for it to control your lights you have to have expensive magic WiFi lights?

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Matt_W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LexW View Post
    Presumably for it to control your lights you have to have expensive magic WiFi lights?
    Well I have a magic WiFi electrical outlet, but yes, you have to have some kind of similar device(s).

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