A smartspeaker is arguably the most useful and efficient addition that can be made to a family home during the holiday season. Purchasing a reliable one can offer endless assistance from traffic reports that are specific to a daily route, relaying an owner's schedule and ordering services like online shopping and booking an Uber. And at this point in time, the Amazon Echo and Google Home are the two most reliable of these devices.
The only reason for the smartspeaker's efficiency is really the virtual assistant that has been installed into it. For the Amazon Echo, that is Alexa, who Trusted Reviews reports is the first AI-powered assistant to have a dedicated device. That is, unlike Siri who has her hands on every iOS-powered device there is.
The Amazon Echo is easy to prepare for a home. Once it is placed and plugged in, users need to only download the appropriate application that is available for iOS and Android. After which, users can then connect the device to Wi-Fi and correspondingly include various Alexa skills, which allow her to connect to various third party apps. The skills app is impressively long, but the more notable ones are Spotify, BBC News and Uber.
The Amazon Echo is capable of connecting to a Google calendar, which Alexa can the read out to the user. Moreover, Alexa can add items into the calendar and can hold multiple profiles at one time. This is one of the reasons why the smartspeaker is one for the entire family. The device can also control other smart devices, thanks to If This Then That (IFTTT).
Its manufacturer boasts that the Amazon Echo is capable of picking up voices even when music is being played - which is true to an extent. Alexa can is capable of voice recognition at moderate sound levels, but becomes less effective when the music is turned up. The best feature of its voice recognition, however, is that users do not need to memorize specific commands, because the AI is smart enough to decipher messages.
And because it is a smartspeaker, the Amazon Echo is also capable of playing music - and because of Alexa, playing music is easy. However, is definitely not the best in terms of sound quality. The device is definitely not suggested if it will only be used as a miniature set of speakers, as it sells for US$99.
On the other hand, there is Google Home for the search engine giant's foray into the smartspeaker industry, which costs US$129. It works primarily the same as the Amazon Echo, though it does not have a large amount of partnerships with third party developers - at least not yet. The company has promised that it will continue to add partners into the Home's virtual roster.
However, Google Home's strongest feature is definitely Google itself. The smartspeaker, as noted by The Verge, was designed to mold effortlessly with Google cloud. The device is therefore capable of transferring information that it hears into the activity log of the user. The tech giant has confirmed that the device only listens when it hears the wake word. Nevertheless, there is a mute button that turns off the listening feature of the device entirely.