Voice Assistants: artificial intelligence designed to do everything from telling you the weather to turning on the TV and the lights. But which one do you buy? Which one is best for you? Here with some assistance to help you pick the assistant that's right for you is CNET Senior Editor Brian Tong and our own Maria Quiban.
In this week's Tech Tuesday, we featured:
As Brian stated, much of the difference between Alexa and Google Home becomes apparent in little flourishes and contextual questions. Ask the voice assistants to "flip a coin" and Google recreates the sounds of the coin toss, while Alexa just gives you an answer. Google Home can perform two actions in one request where Alexa doesn't yet have that functionality. Ask Google what the weather is going to be for tomorrow AND tell it to turn off the bedroom lights in one request and your lights will turn off while it's answering your question. After answering your question, Home will acknowledge that the lights have also been turned off.
Amazon still reigns in the areas of shopping and connectivity. Alexa is connected to the world of Amazon shopping, and can do things like order pizza, or an Uber. And while Google Home can do some of that, Google is still playing catch up as far as shopping goes. They've increased their connections with third-party products but adding new skills as easily and abundantly available as those on Amazon's platform still has a ways to go.
But, reviewing the platforms, we have to be critical and for most people either platform will meet their needs. It just depends on which ecosystem of products and media you're more invested in? Also, do you use Google Chromecast at home or Amazon's FireTV or Fire Stick? Which streaming device you own can impact your choice. Alexa can control quite a bit of your TV viewing if it's also connected to Amazon's products and Google Home enjoys some basic connectivity with Google Chromecast.