Amazon Echo and Google Home

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by ozaz, May 27, 2017.

  1. ozaz macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    This topic doesn't really have a natural home on the macrumors forums. There are a couple of broadly similar threads on other sub-forums, but I would like one contributed to by those who use some non-Apple mobile devices........

    I'm considering buying a voice-controlled smart speaker for the first time (a Google Home or Amazon Echo).
    If you have one, what are the top things you use voice-control for?
    Do you have any thoughts on Amazon Echo vs Google Home?

    I'm leaning toward GH due to its ability to act as a Chromecast target on top of its voice control functionality.
     
  2. Relentless Power macrumors G5

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #2
    I have thoroughly tested the Google home and Amazon echo with Alexa. I have neither owned either one of them, as I'm waiting for the Siri smart speaker. But the Google home was my favorite amongst the two. I thought the sound, build quality and overall aesthetically, it was the best.

    I was thoroughly impressed with Google home with home automation and overall the responsiveness to the commands, dictation and how it overall deciphered everything I asked of it. Also, Google homes sound coming from the drivers is absolutely incredible. It can fill a room with vaulted ceiling's with no problem and it can hear me clear across the room when I give it a command or ask a request.

    The Amazon echo is also very good device, but I felt like Alexa was unappealing with her voice and is much slower to respond even though it was accurate.
     
  3. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #3
    Only have a minute to respond now so I'll chime in later with a more detailed response.

    Long story short---I also prefer the Google Home over Alexa for a number of reasons.
     
  4. nviz22 macrumors 68040

    nviz22

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    #4
    I got the Echo Dot because I found them on sale for $20 last week. Google Home can do much more, but it's not worth the extra price difference for me.
     
  5. Ffosse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #5
    I had the Echo and the Home is miles better, no contest.
     
  6. noisycats macrumors 6502a

    noisycats

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Location:
    The 'ham. Alabama.
    #6
    Wow. I did not know. Echo for 3.99 a month gets me 30million+ streaming music catalog. Does google offer similar? Not trolling, and pissed Apple is so late to this game, just wondering?
     
  7. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    If you pay 3.99 is it only limited to the echo and not available on mobile? If that's the case, this particular perk would not be much of a draw for me at least.
     
  8. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #8
    I am waiting on the Spot since I already have the latest Nvidia Shield. The shield is due to get the Google Assistant update this summer and with the Spot I think will best fit my needs. I am also a user of Honeywell Evohome which interfaces to Google assistant.
     
  9. Ffosse, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    Ffosse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #9
    It plays anything from my Play Music subscription, around the same number of songs.

    Also, the Home has sequential inference (resulting in much improved conversation with it). The Echo doesn't and I would have countless "sorry I can't help you" answers.

    The Home is vastly better; I can't emphasize that enough, although the Dot is good value. I'm so tuned into Google and iOS - don't use Amazon for anything.
     
  10. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    #10
    Echo had Bluetooth from the beginning that was enough to not buy the Home, when Google turns it on I will get several with chrome casts and keep one Echo. The ability to create groups for muti-room listening on home is why I will switch.
     
  11. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #11


    Unless it's a regional thing and your part of the world doesn't have it turned on, this already exists. I have 3 chromecast audio devices plugged into various speakers, all placed in a group that allows me to cast simultaneously throughout the house.
     
  12. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Out of interest, is it possible to group two Google Home or Chromecast speakers as a stereo pair?
    If not, have there been any announcements that this is something that will be added in the future?
     
  13. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2013
    #13
    Bluetooth hasn't been turned on yet. Groups with Bluetooth would allow me to listen to Apple Music and other services not supported on Home.
     
  14. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Thanks everyone for input so far.

    Two things I'm particularly keen to get some comments on are the use of GH and AE for listening to 1) news bulletins on demand and 2) to podcasts. Poor functionality on these two things are my only real irritations with my Sonos system.

    News bulletins - I assume I can say something like "give me the news" and both the GH an AE will play a news bulletin. Is that correct? Can anyone comment on the relative quality of these bulletins (e.g. are they longer and more detailed on one system than the other?; are they updated more frequently during the day on one system than the other?; for anyone outside the US, do you get localised news instead of US news?)

    Podcasts - My preferred podcast app is PocketCasts. I know I will be able to cast PocketCasts to the GH via built-in Chromecast support, but will I be able to access / control these podcasts via voice commands? Does anyone know if PocketCasts works with Amazon Echo? If not, what podcast system will I need to switch to to access via Amazon Echo? I would not want to use Bluetooth.

    Thanks
     
  15. Ffosse, May 29, 2017
    Last edited: May 29, 2017

    Ffosse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #15
    I know that with the Home it will play the news as originally broadcast on the radio station instead of its own voice; this is much welcome. They seem to update hourly but this can probably be changed. There is a multitude of sources to choose from and you choose how many and in what order.

    I use PocketCasts too, no trouble getting the Home to play them. Just ask it.
     
  16. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #16
    I only have a single GH at the moment so I cannot comment on the first question. You can group multiple chromecast audio devices (not standard chromecast though, IIRC) to play together but if you're specifically want to have one act as the right channel and another as the left in a stereo pair, I don't think that's possible. I have one of my Chromecast audio units plugged into my Marantz receiver so I get stereo playback through the speakers hooked up to that system.
    --- Post Merged, May 29, 2017 ---
    I didn't think this was natively possible without some assistance from IFTTT. I listen to a podcast hosted by the creator of Pocket Casts and he admitted it wasn't natively possible, though he hasn't commented again recently so may it changed.

    I thought any requests to play a podcast on GH were actually played through Google Play Music. This is great if this changed because I use Pocket Casts as well.
     
  17. Ffosse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #17
    Yes it plays the podcast as originally broadcast, even resuming wherever I left off on my phone. I just say, "Hey Google, play 99% invisible podcast" and it does.
     
  18. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #18
    Right, but I don't believe it's playing it from Pocket Casts but rather via Google Play Music.

    As of both March and April respectively (last updates of these articles), Pocket Casts is not natively compatible wtih Google Home.

    All Google Home's compatible music, podcast and radio services

    These are all the apps and services that will work with Google Home [Continuously Updated]
     
  19. SigEp265 macrumors 6502

    SigEp265

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2011
    Location:
    Southern California
    #19
    I've had both and got rid of the google home. The echo has more products that are compatible with it as of right now. And frankly saying "OK Google" or "Hey Google" got really annoying to me. Saying "Alexa" or having the ability to switch her name was much more appealing to me. Even as a Google Play Music subscriber I'd much rather have the amazon echo.
     
  20. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #20
    For me it came down to native capabilities. Discovering Alexa skills and then activating them just is a PITA. Also, I'm an Amazon Prime subscriber but primarily use 2 key elements of that subscription---free shipping and video. I have zero desire to shop by voice using the Echo and you cannot even take advantage of the second element. Specifically, I can't tell the Echo to play 'XYZ' show on my Fire TV---not having this functionality is frankly a bit bewildering. Conversely, I can tell GH to play 'XYZ' from Netflix or YouTube, or any music from Google Play Music to one or all of my Chromecast audios devices. And since I use Google Services for just about everything, using GH just makes more sense.

    I have Lutron Caseta wireless dimmers, Phillips Hue lights, Logitech Harmony hub for my media center and while all can be controlled with either the Echo or GH, I find managing the groups/commands to be easier in the Google Home app. And again, being able to cast to Chromecasts via GH commands just makes the GH that much more useful.

    The updates announced at I/O have me that much more excited about what's coming to GH as well.
     
  21. ozaz thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    In spite of what the cnet article says, I would have some doubt that the podcast source is Google Play Music.
    Main reason is Google Play Music only has podcast support in the US and Canada.
    There are also some forum posts indicating GH can't find specific podcasts available in Google Play Music
    https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/googlehome/ENN8p_b7w94
     
  22. tbayrgs macrumors 603

    tbayrgs

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2009
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #22
    Well, I think Ffosse is US based (my apologies if I'm mistaken Ffosse) so it would make sense. If not, not sure where the podcasts are coming from, just fairly positive it's not Pocket Casts. If I try to play any podcast from 'Pocket Casts', the Google Home responds, 'I'm not sure how to help with that'. If I just request playback of a specific podcast without mentioning a specific app.

    Update: I read the same info you provided from the Google Home support page. So basically, it's a mystery where Google Home is sourcing podcast playback from. :p
     
  23. Ffosse, May 31, 2017
    Last edited: May 31, 2017

    Ffosse macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    #23
    It's definitely not playing from Google Play Music as that service has no podcasts (at least here in the UK). It's grabbing them from somewhere if not PocketCasts, but it remembers where I left off on my phone so I'm not sure.
     
  24. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    #24
    I've been pretty happy with my Google Home. Sound wise, it has a richer tone than Echo, but the Echo is louder. Design wise, I like Google Home better and how much smaller it is. Voice recognition is excellent on both. Google Home has the most natural sounding voice. Echo does have a longer distance listening range (in my experience).
     
  25. Zaft macrumors 68040

    Zaft

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    NYC
    #25
    I dont have either of them but 'Alexa" rolls off the tongue better than "Ok google".
     

Share This Page