Alexa vs. Google Home | Digital Trends
The first step toward building a smart home is deciding which smart home platform to use. Google Home and Amazon Alexa are two of the best on the market, offering support for hundreds of third-party devices, powerful automation options, and intuitive smartphone apps that drive all the action.
But which is the better smart home platform — Google Home or Amazon Alexa? Here’s a closer look at these two powerhouses to help you decide.
What is a smart home platform?
A smart home platform is simply an ecosystem that holds all your smart home devices and can issue commands to them. If you’re unfamiliar with the term “smart home platform,” don’t worry — the basics are easy to understand. For example, using your Google Home smartphone app (or voice commands), you can turn off light bulbs, get an update on the local weather, change the thermostat settings, or check in on your video doorbell.
Instead of controlling all these products with different applications, you can simply dive into your Google Home app and have them all at the tip of your fingers. The same goes for Amazon Alexa. There are a lot of similarities between the two, but there are also a few key differences to be aware of before making a decision on which is best for your smart home.
Amazon and Google currently have some of the best hub devices on the market. These serve as the brains of the operation, as they’ll listen to your voice commands and dish out instructions to the rest of your connected smart home accordingly.
If you opt for Amazon Alexa, you’ll get to use Echo or Echo Dot smart speakers and the Echo Show 5 or Echo Show 15 smart displays. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, however, as you’ll find dozens of other hub devices that work with Alexa (including additional products from Amazon, along with third-party products).
It’s a similar story for Google Home, which uses the Google Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Nest Audio, and Nest Mini. Outside of Google’s first-party lineup, you’ll have access to powerful devices like the Sonos One.
With new products arriving regularly, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how many smart home devices work with Alexa and Google Home. From video doorbells and security cameras to thermostats and robot vacuums, both Alexa and Google Home support many of the latest and greatest gadgets. This is a stark contrast to their other competitor — Apple HomeKit — which doesn’t support nearly as many products.
So if you’re looking for a smart home ecosystem that lets you use all of today’s cutting-edge gadgets, it’s hard to go wrong with either Google Home or Alexa. Both products are also heavily involved in the rollout of Matter, which will allow even more products to work across the ecosystems.
It’s worth noting that both Blink and Ring fall under the Amazon umbrella, allowing them to integrate seamlessly with Alexa. Google, meanwhile, owns the Nest lineup of products. Be sure to keep this in mind when shopping, as any home that’s looking to use Blink or Ring products might be better served by Alexa, while folks interested in Nest might want to use Google Home.
Ease of use
Amazon and Google make it remarkably easy to use both Home and Alexa. Whether you’re using the accompanying smartphone app or voice commands, you can quickly dish out instructions or set powerful automation. Deciding which is easier to use largely comes down to personal preference, as the interfaces on both apps give you remarkable control over your products and don’t bog you down with too many extraneous features.
Google tends to be able to take complex voice commands better than Alexa, but Alexa has better integration with Amazon and has tons of unique skills that expand its capabilities.
At the end of the day, you simply cannot go wrong with either Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Both support a wide variety of smart home devices, they’re both easy to use, and they’re both incredibly futureproof (thanks to a constant stream of new gadgets joining their lineups).
However, if you’re interested in using Nest products or simply want a robust smart assistant that can easily take your commands, Google Home is the better option. Conversely, if you want a smart home assistant that plays nicely with Blink and Ring, you can’t beat Amazon Alexa.
The best way to pick between the two is to simply look at the available smart hubs. The Amazon Echo and Google Nest lineups are filled with great devices, and it’s worth perusing all available options before making a decision. These hubs will largely be the driving force behind your decision — and once you figure out which hub you prefer, you’ll know exactly which smart home ecosystem is best for your needs.