Alexa may be everywhere, but it’s Google’s Assistant I want in my home. Here’s why

Smart voice assistants are cool. The ability to control my home with just a few quick commands means that I haven’t touched a light switch in months. Wondering about the weather? I always know what the temperature is outside. In fact, it might be one of the most frequently asked questions in my apartment — anyone from the south knows the temperature and weather conditions can change on a whim. But which smart voice assistant is best?

google home mini vs amazon echo dot google close
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

When it initially came down to choosing between Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, I faced a dilemma. The Amazon Echo featuring Alexa’s voice was one of the first on the market, which meant it had the most time to grow and refine itself. On the other hand, when I was deciding, the Google Home with Google Assistant happened to be on sale. Unable to choose between the two, I bought both. What better way to decide which of the two smart home assistants is best? (I know Siri exists through the HomePod and HomeKit, but Siri’s constant misunderstanding of my questions — or maybe lack of ability to process southern accents —  tells me all I need to know.)

What I discovered surprised me. I expected to find myself using the Amazon Echo more, but Google Home became my go-to option. Here’s why.

Google Assistant just works

A key reason I prefer Google Home is how simple set-up is. While neither platform is particularly difficult to set up, I liked how Google made it so easy to download, pair, and start controlling my smart home devices. When I wanted to pair my Philips Hue bulbs to the Google Home Mini, the process was straightforward and simple. In fact, the most complicated part of it came from the Hue bulbs themselves. Pressing a button on top of the Hue Bridge just reminded me of resetting a faulty router…in the early 2000s.

The Amazon Echo isn’t hard to set up or use, but the pairing process for smart devices seems more cumbersome in comparison. It usually involves adding a skill and requires a couple extra taps in the app. Sometimes it requires going into the app for both devices.

On the other hand, Google Home has only gotten better with time. Now the Mini even comes paired with smart lights that automatically connect as soon as they’re screwed into a socket. Easy as pie.

But that’s not the main reason I prefer Google Home.

“I AM A ROBOT”

Everyone remembers those goofy robotic voices that early Apple computers could generate. How many kids spent their time in the computer lab at school giggling at how badly the system pronounced certain words? That’s what Alexa’s voice reminds me of every time I hear it. Although the system has been through multiple updates that use a variety of linguistic techniques to produce a more natural inflection, it still doesn’t sound normal.

When asked how to julienne vegetables, both Google Assistant and Alexa share similar answers, but the naturalness and cadence of their deliveries are drastically different.

Alexa

Google Assistant

Google Assistant, on the other hand, sounds like someone on the other end of a telephone: natural and easy to listen to, without the impression I’m speaking to a robot that’s almost, but not quite, ready for human integration. It seems like a small thing to nitpick, but when it comes to a smart assistant that I am carrying on a conversation with, the quality of the voice matters.

Functional functionality

Yes, I know that Amazon Echo has more than 50,000 Alexa skills and the Skills Blueprint for the easy, unrestricted creation of even more skills, but that’s always struck me as a lot of effort. Google Home might not be able to do my shopping on Amazon, but the fact I can ask it a question and then follow up with another related question without pausing has always appealed to me more.

google home mini leds

When it comes to Google Home, it can already do all the basic functions I need. It tells me the weather, turns my lights on and off, and plays music. I can set alarms and hear the latest news from around the world. And Google does a better job at answering the random questions that pop into my head throughout the day. If I need it to do something specific, chances are good that I can find an IFTTT recipe that will do the same as an Alexa Skill.

I’ll admit, the Amazon Echo has a lot going for it. It’s a great platform, and people more plugged into the Amazon ecosystem might get significantly more out of it than I do. All of the improvements and refinements made to the Echo astound me, and Google Home hasn’t quite caught up to it in that regard. Despite all of this, Google Home feels like asking an old friend for a favor — and that’s earned it a spot in my heart as my go-to smart assistant.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Wearables

It has LTE and a voice assistant, but the DokiPal kid’s smartwatch is a disaster

The DokiPal smartwatch for kids is a feature-packed wearable that allows you to track and stay in touch with your children. It boasts support for LTE, video calls, and has its own voice assistant, but it's expensive and we had issues.
Smart Home

Alexa’s Custom Interfaces hope to augment gadgets, games, and smart toys

Alexa is growing smarter again with a new feature for developers called Custom Interfaces. The feature is aimed at augmenting interactivity between users of Alexa-powered devices like Amazon's Echo and developer's newest products.
News

The results are in: Alexa is legitimately dumber than Siri and Google Assistant

If you’ve always thought Alexa was dumber than the other voice assistants in your house or on your phone, a new test performed by Loup Ventures might prove your theory correct. Alexa scored last in an IQ test against Google Assistant and…
News

Amazon customers are getting emails with someone else’s order information

Some Amazon customers say they’re receiving emails from Amazon about orders placed by other people. Those emails contain personal information like the person's address and what they purchased on Amazon.
Smart Home

Foxconn interns reportedly work long hours to produce Amazon Alexa products

A recent report from the Chinese Labor Watch said that student interns are forced to work long hours without rest in order to meet Amazon Echo production goals at the Foxconn factory in China.
Smart Home

New Ecovacs Deebot Ozmo models vacuum and mop with multi-floor mapping

Ecovacs Robotics launched two new robotic home floor care models. The Deebot Ozmo 920 and Deebot Ozmo 950 add new laser-based navigation and multi-floor mapping capabilities combine robotic vacuuming and mopping for total floor cleaning.
Smart Home

Google Assistant’s reminders will soon nag your significant other for you

Let Google take the heat for all that nagging: Google Assistant will soon allow you to assign reminders to others. The feature will roll out to Google Assistant-enabled phones, speakers, and displays over the next few weeks.
Deals

Locate a runaway pet with the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker, now $64 on Amazon

A good way to monitor your pet’s movements is through a GPS tracker. A great option is the Whistle 3, which is available on Amazon for only $64 as an early Prime Day deal. It’s normally sold for $80, so you get $16 savings.
Buying Guides

Back to school smart home gadgets under $50 for your dorm

Today’s students are accustomed to a high-tech lifestyle, which they'll want to maintain when they start college. But they're also strapped for cash, so these back to school smart home gadgets under $50 for the dorm are perfect!
Smart Home

Startup Camect is on track to deliver a private, unified smart camera hub

It's not every day you run across a crowdfunded startup that has raised nearly three times its goal but startup Camect has done just that to fund the development of a secure smart camera hub expected to launch in 2020.
Smart Home

Smart thermostats explained: How they work and how they save you money

Thinking of buying a smart thermostat, but don't know exactly what you're looking for? We explain how smart thermostats work, the features they offer, and how they can save you money.
Smart Home

The best pet tech products on the market for dog and cat owners

Pet-centric tech has come a long way in the past decade. From self-cleaning litter boxes to DNA tests designed to trace your pup's ancestry through the ages, here is some of the best pet tech available.
Smart Home

Amazon and Walmart match lower prices on Echo Dot and Google Home Mini

Amazon and Walmart resumed their price competition on the entry-level smart speakers for the Amazon Echo and Google Nest Home smart home ecosystems. The price cuts have started with 40% discounts on the Echo Dot and the Google Home Mini.
Smart Home

Your smart oven might be more ready for breakfast than you realize

Several owners of the June Smart Oven have reported the device turning on and preheating in the middle of the night without any input. June says this is due to user error, but customers are concerned.