Google launched the Google Home and Home Mini smart speakers earlier this week, after much anticipation. The new entrants to Google’s hardware lineup in India come close on the heels of the ambitious India-centric developments and programmes that the company has lately been bullish about. The newly-launched Google Home and Home Mini speakers counter the Echo and Echo Dot speakers launched by Amazon about over six months back, marking the entry of voice-enabled speakers in the country. To draw a contrast, there are two different sets of smart speakers available in India, wherein one is powered by Google Assistant while the other is driven by Amazon Alexa.
While Google-powered services are more efficient than those provided by Amazon, Google Home speakers are still to leverage those services to offer to the users. There are a lot of things that both the rivals do alike, such as telling traffic updates, weather, general knowledge questions, trivia, sports updates, and playing (and controlling) music. However, there are a few areas where Google Home still has to do a lot of catching up with the Amazon Alexa. Here are the five things that you can throw at Alexa freely to make it follow the commands while Google Assistant still struggles to comprehend them.
A quick note: This is a comparison between the voice assistants – Alexa and Google Assistant – on the respective speaker sets. The way Google Assistant works on Google Home speakers is a lot different from what it offers on smartphones, and so does Amazon Alexa, however, it is presently available only on a handful of phones.
Amazon Alexa-enabled speakers can track the packages that you ordered using your voice commands via the speakers itself. While Google does track most of your deliveries on your phone, the feature is not yet available on Google Home speakers. Alexa-enabled speakers not only track the orders on Amazon but also on other e-commerce platforms. Alexa doesn’t necessarily tell much about the orders such as the shipment tracking, however, it apprises the user of the estimated delivery time of the package.
Booking a cab ride
If you want to book a cab without touching your phone, Alexa is at your service. In India, you can call Uber and Ola cabs right at your doorstep and reach your destination without opening the app on your phone. Google Home cannot do this yet. Considering the Google Home has just launched in India, so it is anticipated that these skill sets will arrive later, however, even in the US, Google Home does not support calling cabs.
In order to call a cab using Alexa, you will have to integrate your Uber and Ola accounts with it. You’ll also have to keep in mind that your home destination is set on both the platforms.
Plethora of third-party skills
Amazon Alexa comes with hundreds of skill sets that allow the voice assistant perform specific tasks. While Google Home too comes with almost as the same number of skill sets as Alexa, it lacks the deeper integration that the latter enjoys. A developer created an online tool a while back called Echoism.io – it enables developers to test various skills without needing a hardware. Also, the smartphones that come preloaded with Alexa simultaneously support all the skill sets whereas Google Assistant on phones is completely different from the version it embodies on speakers.
Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant both allow you to turn on the lights without having to do that physically, and some other similar tasks. What sets Alexa apart from Google Assistant is that in addition to throwing these commands for instant action, you can even set particular schedules for Alexa. For example, you want your lights turned on at 6 pm, Alexa will take care of that. On the other hand, Google Assistant cannot yet do the scheduling of such tasks.
Train seat availability
Of all the skill sets integrated with Alexa, the Indian Railways skill set, once enabled, allows you to check for tickets, seat availability in your choice of train on a particular day. It can even search for the reservation class – sleeper, 3-tier, 2-tier, and so on. However, Google Assistant can’t do this yet. But it is worth mentioning that this skill set may arrive in coming days, considering the number of people who prefer trains on a daily basis.