The 10 things Amazon Echo can do that Google Home can’t

10 things you can do with Amazon Echo, but not Google Home

The two most popular smart home speakers — Amazon Echo and Google Home — actually have a lot in common. They both answer questions, play games, control your compatible smart home devices, and they’re both powered by voice assistants that can help you with everyday tasks. Both devices have also come a long way in just a few short years. They’ve evolved from internet connected voice-powered controllers that could turn on lights and perform cool party tricks, and they’ve become a bit closer to real AI devices.

Each device has its benefits and downsides. Google Home can do some things that the Amazon Echo can’t do, and the Amazon Echo has some skills, tricks, and functions that Google Home just can’t match. We’re breaking down the things the Echo can do that the Home can’t. If you want to compare the two devices in terms of their specs and features, check out our article on the Amazon Echo vs. Google Home.

1. Games and Commands with Echo Buttons

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You can use Echo Buttons to control smart home products and routines and to trigger voice responses (i.e. you can press the button and have Alexa announce that dinner is ready). You can also use them as buzzers for games like trivia and as accessories for games like Simon Tap. As of yet, Google doesn’t have its own branded buttons like the Echo Buttons.

2. Communicate with a remote

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Greg Mombert/Digital Trends

You can use an Amazon voice remote to communicate with an Echo device that’s too far away to hear you. To communicate with a Google Home that’s out of range, you’d have to connect another Google Home device.

3. Echo Input and Echo Auto

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Amazon continues to release new Echo devices, including the Echo input which lets you turn a regular old speaker into an Alexa-enabled speaker. The Echo Auto is also coming out, which lets you have Alexa in your car. While Google is putting out new Home devices, Google doesn’t yet have devices like the Echo Input or the Echo Auto.

All in all, Amazon is doing a good job of making it possible for customers to have Alexa everywhere they go, and Google is somewhat behind in that regard.

4. Tracking Shipments

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If you enable shopping notifications in the Alexa App, you can ask Alexa to track your Amazon packages. Your Echo will give you information about when your package will arrive and when it’s out for delivery. Google Home doesn’t have the same type of streamlined package tracking feature like Amazon’s.

5. Guard your home

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Echo devices allow you to enable Alexa Guard, which is a feature that listens for noises that indicate danger like breaking glass and alarms. Alexa will send you an alert and a clip of the specific noise to let you know there could be a sign of trouble. As yet, Google Home (on its own), doesn’t have the capability of acting as a pair of ears that can listen for breaking glass and smoke detectors when you’re not home.

6. Create and Publish custom skills with ease

things amazon echo can do that google home cant alexa blueprints

You can use Alexa Skills Blueprints to create custom skills for your Echo. There are dozens of different Blueprints, from games and quizzes, to jokes, to skills that help instruct a babysitter or pet sitter when you’re on vacation. You don’t need any coding knowledge at all to create custom skills either, as you just fill in the pre-created templates. Although you’re using a template, you get to customize Blueprint skills quite a bit too. For instance, when creating a trivia game, you can customize more than just the questions and answers. You can also choose things like the sounds Alexa makes in response to a correct or incorrect response, choose how the game is scored, and decide if a close answer is close enough to be considered a correct answer. You can share your skills, and even publish them to the skills store where other Echo users can use them and give them a rating.

You can create custom experiences for Google Assistant, but there’s more of a learning curve than with Alexa Blueprints. Some custom Google Assistant experiences, like quizzes and trivia, have a template so it’s a bit easier, while other involve APIs and the process is a bit more complex.

7. Connect with Amazon Music and FireTV

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Compatible Echo devices can control your FireTV. You can pause, play, search, and more. Google Home can control the power on many TVs, and it can control TVs with Chromecast, but it cannot control your FireTV. The same goes for Amazon Prime Music and Music Unlimited.

8. Control more than 60,000 smart home products

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As of late May 2019, Amazon reports there are more than 60,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from more than 7,400 different brands.

Google reported, also in late May of 2019, that you can control more than 10,000 smart home products with Google Home. Sure, that’s a lot of compatible products, but it’s a fraction of the amount of Alexa-compatible products.

9. Let you shop on Amazon

When it comes to online shopping, Amazon is King. Emarketer projected that the online shopping giant would retain 47% of the eCommerce market in 2019. Your Echo lets you purchase directly from Amazon; but, if you use Google Home, you’re not buying from Amazon but rather Google Express (you can also order Groceries from Walmart using Google Home).

10. Create custom routines quickly and easily

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In the Alexa app, it’s super-easy to create routines. The routines menu is right on the main menu, and you can customize everything to your liking in about a minute. Google’s routines are more of a pain to set up. In the Google Home app, the routines feature isn’t as easy to find, and the setup process feels slower and more tedious.

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