Google Lines up for the Smart Home Competition – Here’s What’s New

smart home

Google really knows how to make an entrance on any market – be it already established or emerging.

Don’t forget that the search engine industry was already in full swing when Google first launched, yet now they’re the number one search engine in the world.

Maybe this is actually the aspect Google is counting on to get ahead of Amazon in the smart home industry. They’ve studied the market and know what it needs.

Still, they have a lot of catching up to do, though.

That’s because Amazon released their Echo speaker two years ago. It has quickly become a popular device and users adopted it with ease. Alexa, the assistant integrated within the Amazon Echo, can:

  • Play almost any song you request (even by genre)
  • Control smart appliances (lights, thermostat)
  • Answer your questions (“How’s the weather?” “What time is it?”)
  • Connect to and control many other types of smart devices

However, on the 4th of October, Google became Amazon’s competition. Well, with this article, we aim to help you learn more about Google’s smart home devices and how they plan to take on Alexa.

Is There a Difference between Google Home and Amazon Echo?

At first glance, both devices seem awfully similar.

Google’s freshly launched automated home device has an integrated voice assistant – just like the Echo. They both recognise natural speech and are activated by a particular phrase:

  • “Alexa” for the Amazon Echo
  • “OK, Google” for Google Home

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However, you should keep in mind that Google has a lot more data at its disposal. A history of voice samples and oral commands is stored in each user’s Google account.

Plus, back in 2015, there were around 1.4 billion mobile Android devices in use. Even if only 10% of those users relied on vocal commands, the data Google gathered was still extremely useful.

Why? Because it facilitated the development of accurate speech recognition software.

Additionally, both Echo and Google Home devices rely on artificial intelligence. However, that’s also what sets both devices apart. How? Well, here’s what you need to know.

Google’s Smart Home Device Only Offers a Few Interesting Features for Now

As mentioned before, Google Home can recognise voice commands like Amazon Echo. Still, the key difference is in the artificial intelligence software behind them.

For the Echo device, the users need to repeat “Alexa” every time they want to launch a command. However, the voice assistant could sometimes return a negative response. In that case, users need to keep repeating the phrase quite often, which can get tiring.

That’s not the case with Google’s smart home device. To activate the voice command, you need to speak the phrase “OK, Google”. But you don’t need to repeat it for every follow-up question you have.

Additionally, Google’s integrated assistant can answer rather complex questions.

That has been achieved through the use of an advanced neural network capable of learning. A vast network of servers analyses vocal spectrograms (visual representations of a signal’s “loudness”) and tries to predict new patterns – like a human brain does.

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Another thing that only Google Home can do is connect to video devices. And the new Chromecast Ultra has just been launched by Google to outline this feature. Granted, Amazon can match this by using their Fire TV devices.

Availability, Prices, and Conclusions

Well, Amazon’s Echo is now available in the UK. The device was officially launched on the 28th of September. It costs about £150.

Sadly, Google’s smart home device doesn’t yet have a release date for the UK. Still, there is some speculation that at least the price will be lower. The device will be available in US stores starting with the 4th of November.

It is safe to assume that Amazon is the better option at the moment. Its Echo speaker can connect to many smart home devices:

  • Smart lights
  • Smart locks
  • Smart hubs
  • Overall entertainment

On the other hand, Google Home announced integration with only a few devices for now.

In the end, we’ll just have to wait and see what features are added and what other companies partner up with Google. Who knows, they just might end up providing us with better smart home technology in the long run.

Lockrite is a team of expert locksmiths with a keen interest in bringing you the latest in automated home technology and security. Here are some of the professional services we provide.

For more information about automated homes, feel free to browse through our blog.