The world of tech is always changing, revolutionizing how we think of the internet and interact with technologies. One of the biggest advancements of 2016 wasn’t talked about too much: Amazon Echo and, more recently, Google Home (technically, Echo was released almost 2 years ago, but it was really only commercially available on a practical scale recently).
Our headquarters in Silicon Valley report no shortage of commercials for the two products, but people aren’t talking too much about just how amazing the tech behind these things are. And truly, the code is truly astounding.
Both Echo and Home are the first two “Smart Speakers.” This relatively unassuming nomenclature obscures just how phenomenal Alexa and the AI behind Home are. We wouldn’t be overly surprised if historians look back on both as one of the most innovative tools to hit the market in 2016 (and hopefully not as the year Skynet was created…), possibly over even VR and AR.
Think about it: Home and Echo amount to a Virtual Assistant, who is smarter and more effective than any human assistant in existence (not to knock Personal Assistants world ‘round!). Both are constantly connected to the internet, both learn from every request, both are cloud-based with exponential growth potential.
But SDI is a business and while we appreciate awesome tech, we always want to know how it can be used to help our clients grow. Even more to the point, these are two competing platforms – which is the best for Business Growth?
The Case: Google Home VS Amazon Echo
Google Home is the new kid on the block, if only by a few months. It is backed by Google’s massively powerful algorithm. There are some cool user advantages over Echo, like its ability to remember previous questions (for instance, if you were to ask “What will the weather be like today”, and were to follow it up with “how about the day after,” Home will understand the context).
Amazon Echo, as mentioned in the lead, has been around for almost 2 years now. It’s had sometime to grow, and has great options for tech lovers with Smart Homes. It’s pretty much the consummate IoT Gadget, providing a central control hub for all your connected devices.
But we’re not here to talk about how cool either platform is from the perspective of a user. We know that’s cool. The question we want answered is which is better for business? Naturally, the answer is complex:
• First and foremost, Google is Google. It is the world’s largest depository of knowledge in the entire world. Amazon is pretty successful, but it’s not even the largest eCommerce business in the world (that honor goes to Chinese tech giant Alibaba). So, Home simply has a much larger database to pull from over Echo. Point, Google
• AI becomes more successful with usage. Echo has been around longer, and the algorithm has had a significant time to learn (as have its developers). But I don’t think we can quite rule in Alexa’s favor here; again, Home has a massive database from which it can be trained. So Jury’s still out here.
• Echo is open to Third-party app development; Home isn’t. While Google promises that third-party development will be available soon, it isn’t yet. This means that if you have a business that provides a service for, say, a Smart Home, Echo is currently your only option. Plus Amazon offers an an “Alexa’s Skills Kit;” basically a library of various APIs for third party app development. This is a big mark against Home, so Echo deserves 2 points here.
• While Home does not yet offer Third Party app support, it does offer ChatBot development. These are sometimes referred to as “Conversation Actions” or “Micro Apps.” But no matter what you call them, basically what they do is allow retailers the opportunity to offer limited services through a platform (Facebook Messenger is the best place to see this). For instance, a user can say “okay Google, order me a pizza from Dominoes.” Home will call up the Dominoes’ Bot to complete the action. But we can’t give this one to Google; Echo does the same thing and offers connection to your actual app, not just a Bot. So this has to go to Amazon.
• Echo is in more homes. That’s basically it; Amazon has had a lot more time to get their device to users; as a business owner it’s important to know where you biggest potential market lies, and that’s with Echo. Point, Amazon.
• The advantage of the Google EcoSystem cannot go ignored. I think it’s fair to say that Google may have more fingers in more tech bowls than any other business in the world. That kind of support is undeniably advantageous to a business. So, point Google
The Verdict: Amazon Echo (with reservation)
Saying Amazon Echo is the best option for business is kind of like looking at 2 siblings: The oldest is undeniably taller, but it’s pretty clear that the younger sibling will eventually be the taller of the two. It would be incorrect to say that the youngest is taller; but we all know that it’s only a matter of time.
That being said, Amazon Echo is here. And it’s not like Amazon is a flash in the pan: they’ve been around for a bit and aren’t likely to go anywhere soon. And when it comes down to it, Echo is open to third-party app development and Home isn’t there yet. Savvy entrepreneurs deal with what is extant, but prepare for the future.
So our final advice is to build an app on Amazon Echo, but start getting it ready for Google home! Give us a call at 0422 710 780 (or click to contact us!) to get started now!