Google Home and Alexa are platforms that offer a variety of features that make it easy for you to manage your home. Both are capable of identifying voices and will switch from one person's account to another each time the voice changes. Alexa is much more discerning when it comes to answering a verbal question while Google Home tends to have more explicit hearing.
Google seems to be easier to use but Alexa will respond to multiple “wake” words. Both platforms will sync with other apps and work to support smart home automation. Home security systems will often pair with one or the other but not both so it's important to do a little research if you plan on making a high-end, home security system.
The speakers for both platforms are rather plain, although there are a few options for customization. Google Home offers white (with interchangeable fabric) and a metal base option with seven colors. Alexa also offers multiple interchangeable fabric and wood covers. The speakers for both are cylindrical but the Google Home has a rounder base.
Both Google Home and Alexa support many of the most popular music platforms, like Pandora, Spotify, and iHeart radio. The Echo offers a higher volume (up to 3 – 4 dB higher). In contrast, Google Home offers a clearer, richer sound. If you want to hook the device up to a larger speaker, you will have to choose the Echo. Google Home doesn't have a jack/auxiliary feature. Both have Bluetooth capabilities.
To gain control of Google Home, you only have one option, “Hey Google”. If you have the Alexa platform, you can say a variety of words including “Computer”, “Alexa” or “Amazon”. When it comes to gender, Alexa only offers a female voice, while Google Home offers both male and female.
You can use Alexa's Voice Control feature to answer shopping questions. Both Google Home and Alexa are capable of relaying news stories, spelling words or answering trivia questions. Google Home, however, can carry on a simple conversation and answer follow-up questions.
Smart Home Integration
Both Google Home and Alexa platforms offer smart home integration features. They can interact with devices in other rooms and can integrate home security devices with other smart home devices for almost full home automation. This allows all of the systems to pair together so they are easily managed through one primary platform. They recognize specific routines and will allow you to perform tasks from almost anywhere using the app or voice commands.
The Blink and Ring home security systems will only pair with the Alexa platform, mainly because they are all owned by Amazon. The same is true with Nest devices. Since Nest is owned by Google, it will only pair with that platform. When it comes to specific apps or channels, Google Home integrates with YouTube, while both Alexa and Google Home can be used with Hulu, Chromecast or the Fire TV Stick.
Wi-Fi, Third-Party Actions, and Calls
While both Google Home and Alexa platforms connect through your home's Wi-Fi, Google Home tends to have weaker reception. Third-party actions such as ordering a pizza or an Uber are still some of Alexa's better features. Google Home, however, is quickly catching up. Alexa also offers more local options in terms of news, radio stations, and other events of interest.
When it comes to making outbound phone calls, both Google Home and Alexa are both reliable. While Alexa can receive phone calls from your home phone or other Alexa devices, Google Home cannot. If you want to upgrade your Alexa to receive phone calls, you will have to spend $35 on the Eco Connect box.
Alexa offers three different sizes of speakers, the Echo Dot, the Echo, and the Echo Plus. Amazon also offers three different smart displays and even a few tablets that offer Alexa capabilities. A subwoofer, car attachment, amp, streaming TV sticks, and camera are also available.
Google Home offers the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max as well as three different sizes of speakers that can be used in the home. They also offer Chromecast.
Google Home speaker starts out at around $50 and increases in price as the size of the speaker increases.
Alexa speakers can be found for as low as $19, depending on where you purchase them.
Our Thoughts: Google Home vs Alexa
Google Home is a top choice if you want the Google name and compatibility with a home security system like Nest that offers effective home automation.
Alexa is a better choice if you want a stronger signal and more devices to choose from.