Google Home and Amazon Alexa

Surely you’ve heard that Google recently launched the Google Home speaker (using it’s accompanying “Ok, Google” AI).

In my setup at home, I have an Amazon Echo and the Amazon Echo Dot.  Our primary uses: 1) playing Prime music, 2) random trivia questions, 3) asking for weather conditions, 4) switching lights on/off, and most recently 5) modifying the thermostat temperature.

I was a very early adopter of the Echo and was a bit skeptical at first (“Why would I need to talk to a device?”).  But now I’m a fan, and whenever I shout out a voice command I can’t help but think “man, I’m living in the future”.  I’m actually no stranger to using voice commands … as soon as “Hey Siri” became available, I have been using it almost daily in my car – primarily for hands-free texting.

Anyhow, back to Google.  So they launched a similar tool (Ok Google) along with a (in my opinion) much better looking speaker – and it’s also customizable in terms of it’s color.  One thing I feel like I’m missing with the Echo is contextually – that is, I can’t ask two questions in a row and have a conversation, like this “Alexa, how far is Napa?” and then “And what’s the weather like there today?”.  With Echo, the second question wouldn’t register a response.  With Google Home, you have this feature.

The Google Home speaker comes with the light gray base … and additional base colors can be ordered for $20 each.

I’m not about to jump ship to Google Home from Amazon Echo, but am envious of the overall design and contextually that it affords.  Oh, and one more thing (can you tell this is a stream-of-consciousness post?) that I wish I could do with Echo – synchronize music across multiple speakers in my home (a la Sonos), Google Home allows you to do this.

I’m sure that the folks at Amazon (and Apple!) are already working on integrating much of these features in their upcoming products, and I would (in a heartbeat) consider dumping Amazon for Apple if they had a Hey Siri speaker setup with these features: Hey Siri AI, integration with SmartThings (doubt this would happen), HomeKit, IFTTT, and music synchronization across speakers.