Each have their own benefits, but there are a few things Alexa can do that the Google Assistant has
Smart assistants have taken over in the last year. In fact, about 20 percent of US adults, or 47.3 million people, own a smart speaker, a number that’s expected to grow by 50 percent in 2018.
There are a lot of smart speaker options, but the two that really dominate the market are the Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Each have their own benefits, from the far-reaching Google ecosystem to Amazon’s shopping juggernaut. But there are a few things Alexa can do that the Google Assistant has not yet mastered.
It’s already so easy to take advantage of Amazon’s free two-day shipping for all Amazon Prime members. With Amazon Echo, it’s possible to track these orders with the sound of your voice and the command, “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” While Google can track your packages through the use of your phone, having Google Home tell you what time your package is going to be delivered is not yet a thing.
Book a Ride
Imagine being able to schedule your Uber ride without pulling out your phone. With Amazon Echo, you can. Just link your Uber account with Alexa and make sure your home address is set in the rideshare app. Then you can ask for a ride, check on the status of the ride, make requests from different accounts, and select different car types.
Google Home can integrate with ridesharing apps, but it’s a messier process to set up the ride. So, take full advantage of this Alexa exclusive feature while it still lasts. Just say, “Alexa, ask Uber for a ride.”
Play Amazon Prime Music
Let’s be real, one of the only reasons you want a smart assistant is to ask it to play the song that’s stuck in your head. Amazon Echo and Google Home support most major music streaming services: Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and Pandora. But being that Amazon and Google are competitors, Alexa can’t play YouTube or Google Play Music, just as Google Home can’t access Amazon Prime Music or Music Unlimited. If you’re a Prime member, that could be a deal-breaker.
Chatting Out of Range
Amazon Echo and Google Home have a voice range—an area where the smart assistants can register and “hear” your commands. If you’re outside this range, it’s impossible to activate either device with their wake words. Google’s only solution is to buy another Google Home, which can add up fast (Google Home Mini usually starts at $49).
Amazon has a thrifty solution called the Alexa Voice Remote. This $30 control connects to Amazon’s smart speakers, and allows you to command Alexa from anywhere in the house, by voice (though you still have to be close enough to hear Alexa respond).
Donate to Charity
Recently Amazon announced that Alexa will now accept donations to 48 select charities through the power of your voice. For example, use the command, “Alexa, make a donation,” and you’ll be able to choose which charity you would like to support and donate between $5 to $5,000. This service is only available in the US right now and will use your Amazon Pay account to complete the transaction. Go ahead, you wonderful philanthropist—speak up and better the world with a simple use of your voice. Charities include the American Cancer Society, Best Friends Animal Society, Doctors Without Borders USA, Inc., the American Red Cross, the United States Fund for UNICEF, Wounded Warrior Project, and more.
Get on a Schedule
One of the best things about smart home devices is that they can connect to your smart speakers/digital assistants. For example, program a “routine” that tells your gadgets to turn your lights on when your alarm goes off, which triggers your coffee machine to start a fresh brew.
Google Home and Amazon Echo both support routines, but only Alexa can do them on a schedule. Meaning she can do the routine every morning without you having to command her to do so—trust us, this makes a big difference.
Easily Create New Skills
The beauty of these assistants is the host of third-party skills you can tap into. Google and Amazon offer developer platforms for those who want to try their hand at skill creation, but Amazon also has a simple option for those who aren’t yet comfortable fiddling with code.
In April, Amazon introduced more than 20 templates, aka Alexa Skill Blueprints, designed to let anyone easily create customized Alexa skills “within minutes just by filling in the blanks”—no coding experience necessary. Here’s how to get started.