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Ever wondered which smart assistant is more responsive – Google Assistant or Alexa? Or maybe you’re currently pondering which one to opt for. Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Which smart speaker is right for you? Well, research indicates if you’re looking to ask your smart home speaker a lot of questions,
Google Nest/Home speaker is far more likely to answer your searches than Echo.
The research, conducted by New York-based digital agency 360i has issued a ringing endorsement for Google’s voice assistant after a comparative test saw it emerge with a clear advantage.
Investigated using 360i’s proprietary software for testing home assistant technologies, the company state that its ‘Voice Search Monitor’ (VSM) software was used to ask both devices same 3,000 questions and to determine which one is better at understanding and replying. They found that the Google Home was “six times more likely to answer questions correctly than Amazon Echo.”
Google arguably has the best AI on the planet – former head of Amazon’s Alexa AI
Ashwin Ram, the head of Amazon’s Alexa AI research and development team, has jumped ship to lead AI development at Google Cloud.
“Google arguably has the best AI on the planet; my role will be to help make that AI even better and broadly available to everyone,” Ram said in his linkedin post. Mr. Ram is now the Technical Director of AI at Google Cloud, according to LinkedIn.
Ram is a high-profile get for Google’s AI efforts. He has been studying AI since 1980s, well before the current machine learning and AI boom that’s transforming many parts of the technology industry. Ram has co-founded and led three technology companies, and has held technical executive positions at companies including research and development house PARC.
At Amazon, Ram was tasked with improving Alexa’s conversational capabilities and founded the Alexa Prize competition. During his time at the company, Alexa went from the voice behind the original Echo speaker to an ubiquitous voice assistant — battling for the top spot with the Google Assistant, which he will likely help craft in his new role.
Alexa, Say Goodbye to Ashwin Ram.
Google is also in a better position to connect its smart speaker with our digital selves
The fact that Home ties into ubiquitous services of Google will have some obvious implications.
Talk to the Google Assistant, and get directions to a meeting, ask about the weather, and even help you with research on a new project at work. “How many people live in the U.K.?” actually tells you it’s 64 million. “When was the iPhone first released” gives you the answer, with less typing on a keyboard.
Ask Alexa, show me photos on my TV. A skill too far for Alexa. Google Assistant, however, showed me a selection of my photos. Further questions revealed photos from specified locations and certain time periods
Google Home’s area of expertise is task completion. It can do everything from adding a lunch date to your calendar to browsing your schedule to give you an idea of what your day looks like. Dimming the living room lights and turning off the heat. That’s thanks to its integration with smart home products from Nest thermostats. Home will most likely expand compatibility to other home automation protocols in upcoming years.
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Google Home outperformed Amazon Echo 6-to-1 in adequately responding to these questions.
360i attributed this result to the Knowledge Graph software that powers Google Home. With Google Home backed by Google’s extensive search engine (by far the largest and most powerful search engine available on all platforms) and the company’s huge investment in AI over the years, this news may come as no surprise.
Essentially, it looks like Google’s history as a search engine company with the best algorithms has paved the way for them to deliver a better experience here. While Amazon has a lot of shopping data, it can’t come close to the amount of data Google has access to.
Google has the full weight of the natural language processing behind it
Unlike Echo, which can be a little dumb when you ask questions, Google Home taps into the company’s stellar search algorithms to provide smart answers to even the trickiest questions. Google Home will let users ask a broader range of questions than the Echo can manage, since Google Assistant connects to the company’s powerful search platform. Google’s search assets and structured data could enable it to build a broader set of capabilities into Home. Unlike others, Google could connect Home with users’ PC and mobile search histories to offer a more personalized experience as well.
Home can practically pick up a whisper, even over an alarm or music. With Alexa, you’ve to shout a few times to trigger the wake word.
Having a better grasp on web search is a key capability that could give Google Home an edge.
Google Assistant places a great degree of emphasis on conversational context and tone, and will be able to remember users’ search queries and give answers in the proper context. Asking “What’s playing tonight?” will return a list of films at nearby cinemas. Following it up with “I want to take my kids” will refine the list to family-friendly features.
Google Home leverages the things Google does really well
Google Home will be a beautiful addition to any room in your house and is a voice activated device that already knows you. It will let anyone in the family, kids or adults, have a conversation with Google.
Ask it to play music, a podcast or even to watch something on your television and Home performs like a champ. Those same standards also allow the seamless coordination of multiple Home devices and connected speakers. Ask about the weather, about a change on your calendar or commute or about a trivia question and Home can do these things too because it’s built on Google Search. So it knows that you have a dentist appointment Thursday or that there’s a traffic jam on your morning commute so you better leave earlier. And Home can turn off the lights in Billy’s room, adjust the thermostat in the basement and the security cameras outside based on the standards Nest has been able to nail down.
Google Home vs Amazon Echo: Voice recognition and smarts
I’ve found Google Assistant much better at picking out words than Amazon Alexa. Trying to get Alexa to play an REM playlist took about ten goes. Now, to be fair, initials make for an odd word for assistants to recognize – nonetheless, Google Assistant recognized it much faster.
In terms of overall smarts, Google Assistant is a lot more clever. You can ask it all kinds of things, and it reads out an extract of a page from its search results with full citation. Alexa does this occasionally, but it’s less effective. For example, when I asked Google Assistant “what was Derby County’s last score,” it told me they drew 1-1 with Rotherham United. Alexa, bizarrely, told me about Derby losing 3-1 to Leicester several months’ prior. More often than not, it’s left stumped by questions.
But even when they both come up with the same answers, Google Assistant is generally more effective. If I ask Google Assistant how many hairs a cat has, I get the answer “On the website catsinfo.com they say there are approximately 60,000 hairs per square inch on the back of a cat, and approximately 100,000 per square inch on its underside.” Alexa, meanwhile, says “A cat has 60,000 hairs.”
I have welcomed #GoogleHome into my life to go alongside my Amazon Echo, and Google really doesn’t disappoint, I was honestly really surprised by this beautiful device!
Sorry Alexa, Google Assistant is much better.
Update: 2017/12/15 Google Home continues to beat Amazon Echo in showdown
Google Home came out on top in previous showdown. But we’re four months down the line and both companies have made their smart home devices smarter. Jay McGregor from Forbes put 45 reasonably difficult questions to Home and Alexa, and came with similar outcome as last report, that Google Assistant in Google Home continues to beat Alexa in Echo.
Alexa correctly answered a not-so respectable 19.5 questions out of 54. But, with a whopping 32.5 correct answers out of 54, Assistant comfortably takes home the gold.
Maybe we will use the Google Assistant on the Home speaker to talk to our car in the near future. Will Google be able to retain its title for too long? let us in know in comments below.