Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa: Which one is the best in 2019?

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are the two most popular digital assistants. But do you know which one is the best? Here we reveal it for you-

The Basic- Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

Google Assistant is the AI-powered software you talk to when using a Google Home speaker, or when you long-press the Home button in recent Android phones.

Alexa is Amazon’s equivalent technology and what you talk to when using an Amazon Echo smart speaker, or a Fire TV remote control.

If you want to dim the lights with a voice command or get a traffic update, you often have a choice of which assistant to use. Both are supported by a wide range of third-party smart home products and speakers.

The Smartness- Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

Google Assistant doesn’t fail when asked, “What’s the last date to file income tax returns?”, but Alexa does. Similarly, say “I don’t like this one” when playing a Spotify song and Assistant will skip to another track. Alexa, on the other hand, tells you: “Thumbs up and down are not supported on Spotify”. Thanks, that’s really handy!

If you’re after a digital helper such as those that feature in popular sci-fi films, Google Assistant is clearly ahead at present.

However, Alexa is ahead in a trite but – unfortunately – important way. Alexa’s ‘wake word’, which is what you say to make a smart speaker start listening, is less of a mouthful than Google’s. “Alexa” is simply easier to say that “OK, Google”, which is a vowel salad.

The Abilities- Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

Alexa has a greater breadth of abilities thanks to ‘skills’. These are effectively apps for your smart speaker that let you do more with your device than it’s capable of out of the box.

Particularly useful are recipe ‘books’ and guided meditations, or you can play radio stations with Radioplayer. There are tens of thousands of these skills, some very specific. Multiple Skills are available just to let you know the value of resistors by their markings, to give one example of how niche things can get. Other skills allow you to voice control your smart home equipment, robot vac, or Plex setup.

Google Assistant offers something similar in the form of ‘actions’, but there are far fewer available. The total number is in the hundreds, rather than thousands, and you can’t yet use Google Assistant to tell you the values of a resistor as you try to fix a broken gadget.

Yet while Alexa lets you interact with way more smart home devices, apps, and other useful services, there’s still a sense that the foundations of Google Assistant are more appealing. Again, it’s all about the naturalistic way it responds.

Alexa’s skills can also seem a little modular, in that some can’t be loaded just by asking for the right kind of content. You need to mention the skill’s actual name, which can feel awkward and unfriendly.

Since these AI platforms are changing rapidly, we can’t say what they’ll be like in six months. But the Google Assistant approach – of closely integrated abilities, rather than a sea of the things activated by precise commands – is more appealing overall.

The Assistant on your phone- Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

There’s also the phone side of things to consider. Alexa is primarily an assistant of Amazon’s Echo speakers, Fire TV devices and – to a lesser extent – Fire tablets. The Google Assistant is available for iPhones and Android handsets and comes built into just about all new Android phones.

You can download Alexa for Androids and iPhones, but the app doesn’t actually give you full access to the Alexa experience, just a control panel.

The Features- Google Assistant vs Amazon Alexa

Each side also has a few special features worth considering. For Google Assistant, Chromecast lets you take media from your phone and fire it over to your TV. Chromecast is a low-cost media dongle that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. There’s also one for audio, called Chromecast Audio.

This is great if you want to turn your old, but still great-sounding, ‘non-smart’ hi-fi system into a smart home-controlled system. Chromecast doesn’t have a full interface of its own, though – it’s just a middle-man that bridges old tech with new.

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