Google has announced that they are launching Google Home in the UK. Previously Google Home was exclusively available just in the US, but at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Google confirmed plans for the smart speaker to be sold in the UK before the end of June.
Google Home is in direct competition to the Amazon Echo range, which has been in the UK since September, and has arguably garnered a huge fan-base before Google have even stepped into the UK market.
But the tech giant isn’t letting that head start put them off. Whilst the products appear to be similar; both of them answer your questions for instance, Google’s hardware executive Rick Osterloh told the BBC why he thought Google Home had the edge: “The trick … in these products is trying to really understand what people are asking for,” he explained.
“We’ve got so much history with people using our search products and people using voice queries through Android phones … that we’re able to much better answer these types of questions. All this data really helps us making sure we understand what the user is looking for.”
With the Google Home device, there is one important difference, you can ask follow up questions without having to prefix them with a command word such as Alexa, Amazon, Echo or computer. This forms the basis for one of the biggest gripes Amazon Echo users have, which is that you can only ever ask one question, or ask Amazon Echo to do one thing at a time. So for instance, you cannot say ‘Alexa turn on the bedroom and bathroom lights’, you have to separate those into two commands.
Of course, the other advantage Google Home has over Amazon Echo is that it has Google as a data-mining base for any question you might pose, whereas Amazon Echo relies on Wikipedia and Microsoft Bing to bring you information,
However, before you go and dump your Amazon Echo into the trash and go onto the Google Home waiting list you might want to remember that Echo has over 10,000 individual skills, thanks to its smart assistants. Google Home currently has around 100. But this could change: “In the short term, Amazon has the better chance because it has developed a large platform connected to many other smart products in the sector,” Annette Zimmermann from the Gartner tech consultancy told the BBC. “But in the long term, given that Google has a lot of capacity round its search capabilities and is investing deeply into artificial intelligence, it probably has the better prospects.”
Moreover, Amazon are already updating their product by testing a way for Alexa to distinguish between different voices to stop other people using the device for shopping theft.
We think, like any smart device, it all comes down to personal choice, what you want to use it for and where your loyalties lie.