I spent many days trying to decide if I wanted to go the Google Home route or the Amazon Echo route for my home. Amazon’s Echo has been around a lot longer and essentially works with more “smart” devices for the home. Google’s got the power of their search engine like no one else does.
I was looking more so at the Echo Dot because they were on sale for $40/each! I could have one in my bedroom, my family room, and exercise room for the price that I could have a single Google Home priced at $130. The Echo Dot is missing the better speaker of its taller siblings the original Echo though. I could easily pair it to Bluetooth speakers or plug into one with an auxiliary cable.
The Google Home has the speaker built-in just like the original Echo does. But like I said, it came at the price of 3 Echo Dot’s at the time. Google Home is in its infancy and is waiting for more parties to join in for compatibility right out of the box. But the possibilities that the Google Home has with the backing of being a part of the Google family is far greater to me than what Amazon could ever have for their famous Echo line. This is why in the end I chose to purchase a Google Home for my house.
Convenient and Helpful
I’ve had the Google Home for 3 days now and my wife and I are continuously using it. She enjoys it for its music playing convenience. I use it not only for music, but for information I’d like to know such as traffic, weather, gas prices, flight prices, or what something is. As soon as I heard the news about Carrie Fisher passing, I asked Google Home if she died and Google Home gave me the answer I was looking for and her age.
Traffic reports have now become routine for me before I leave to go somewhere. I even have asked how far a restaurant was from a movie theater and it could tell me it was 7 miles away. When I was making a soup, I was asked Google Home to set a timer for me and could ask how much was left in between.
It is way easier to just say “Ok, Google… Play Top Hits on Pandora” than it is to start up the Samsung Smart TV, turn on the speakers, open the Pandora app, choose which radio to play, etc. This may sound like laziness, but we listen to more music now in the house in the past 3 days than we have in probably the last 3 months. The Google Home has great sound quality and yes sometimes a little high in the bass area. But the sound is clear and can fill a room greatly.
With it being the holidays, it brought a smile to my face to ask the Google Home to play Christmas music or Hanukkah music and see that it made a wreath design with the corresponding colors spinning around in reply. Even asking it the question, “Do you want to build a snowman?” has a fun and delightful result. It will reply with varying responses from the movie Frozen. Or another example, “What does the fox say?”. This is related more to the holiday spirit, but my wife and I played Mad Libs with a holiday story and it was fun!
While Google Home can’t offer every compatible possibility that the Amazon Echo can just yet, it still can connect to everything I’d like to at the moment. I bought a Chromecast specifically for its Google Home compatibility and the results have been very satisfying. I can ask Google Home to show photos with phrases like “from 3 days ago” to “January 2015” to “this week” and instantly the Chromecast shows photos corresponding to my request like magic. Of course there’s YouTube requests to play videos straight to the Chromecast, but the latest Netflix compatibility with the Chromecast and Google Home leaves me with positive thoughts for other apps to join in.
I can easily just say “Ok, Google… Play Daredevil on Netflix on Gym Chromecast” and instantly the show begins to play where I left off before. I can even ask it to rewind 30 seconds, fast forward 6 seconds, and pause. I cannot wait to see what other possibilities developers will bring to work with the Google Home. Nest also works with a simple connection in the Google Home app and I can change the temperature on command.
The Future and Possibilities
I did say that the Google Home can’t offer every compatible possibility that the Echo can right now, but with the powerful app IFTTT (If This Than That) there are a lot of options to solve this. One recipe I made I can ask Google Home to find my phone for me and it will call my phone in the house to ring it. WeMo doesn’t have direct support yet but with IFTTT, Google Home can work with it by making a simple recipe. So people shouldn’t say it doesn’t support much yet, because there are so many things to connect with in IFTTT. There will be more product support over time and I cannot wait!
I am extremely happy with my purchase of the Google Home and would recommend it to anyone interested in making their home a smarter home.