It’s hard for anyone to argue against Google Assistant being the best voice assistant at answering queries. Assistant has proven time after time on tests by multiple companies by Stone Temple, Loup Ventures, and Tom’s Guide all ranked Google Assistant on top and that it’s superior. Loup Ventures has, for the second year in a row, performed a test with Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa smart speakers to determine which is the smartest option.
Unsurprisingly, Google Assistant took the crown here yet again.
Over 800 questions, Google Assistant understood 100% of what it was asked. The question set, which is designed to comprehensively test a smart speaker’s ability and utility, is broken into 5 categories:
- Local – Where is the nearest coffee shop?
- Commerce – Can you order me more paper towels?
- Navigation – How do I get to uptown on the bus?
- Information – Who do the Twins play tonight?
- Command – Remind me to call Steve at 2 pm today.
As was previously the case, Google Assistant on Home Mini led the group, once again with a 100% rate of understanding queries, and this time an 87.9 percent correct answer rate — up from 85.5 percent in the July smartphone test and 81 percent in Loup’s last smart speaker test back in February. Assistant’s responses beat all competitors in four of five categories, namely local, commerce, navigation, and information requests, coming in second place only in “command” requests, with 73 percent accuracy.
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Alexa, is and should be afraid
Amazon has unveiled 21 — yes, 21 different Alexa speakers, gadgets and accessories to date, and that isn’t even counting all of the Alexa-equipped Fire tablets and Fire TV streamers, nor does it take into account third-party Alexa devices not made by Amazon.
With just four speakers in its catalog, Google remains in a distant second place. But numbers can be misleading. That second place represents a swift uptick for Google, which is still relatively new to the smart speaker game having only released its own $50 smart speaker, Home Mini, one year ago. And, unlike the fuzzy-at-best focus of Alexa all-over-the-place strategy, Google’s lineup — which now features an attractive, no camera smart display called the Home Hub — seems to be zeroing in on what consumers actually want. In a nutshell, Amazon might be getting anxious. There’s good reason for Amazon to fear Google, and it isn’t just because of Home Mini, new Google Home Hub but also and most importantly Google Assistant. And never mind that the Echo Show can’t search YouTube using voice commands, or that it can’t pull up a map at all. On top of all of that, Google has a foothold in mobile thanks to the Google Pixel smartphones and that Google Assistant comes standard on several other popular Android devices. That’s an entire avenue of access to the Assistant that Amazon can’t match. Improvements in AI will help refine the experience and make these both assistants better at anticipating our needs and giving us what we ask for — and this is where Google has another key advantage moving forward. Google has decades of experience reading search queries and routing people to what they want from the web, and it’s an industry leader in developing consumer-level AI. Just look at Google Duplex, which lets Assistant talk to other humans on your behalf to book a table for dinner or to help shoo telemarketers away. Alexa can’t do anything like that.
Amazon is largely on the defensive, and likely hoping that its new devices can become next hit. Meanwhile, Google’s vision for the ambient internet is coming into focus at just the right time. That, more than anything, should make Amazon nervous.
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And Apple, Hey Siri, are you even there?
2018 is almost over and Apple’s smart home is still way behind. There are some serious, lingering limitations with HomeKit, Siri (what a joke Siri is among iPhone users, they hate it like anything) and Apple’s overall approach to smart home hardware that should have been addressed by now. Siri has been around for almost 7 years, but it still kind of sucks. Google Assistant and Alexa continue to move forward at an quick pace while Apple’s platform still struggles to keep up with and lags far behind.
While Loup expects to update its digital assistant findings again in July, it doesn’t expect that the AIs will evolve to correctly answer everything they’re asked — instead, they’ll just be able to do more things, including controlling a wider array of devices, or to offer superior functionality within existing capabilities such as email, calendars, and messaging.
Which one should I buy Google Home vs Amazon Echo? Google Assistant or Alexa?
For now, the biggest differences crop up among the long tail of specialized knowledge questions that you’d expect a search engine to be able to answer, but not necessarily a smart speaker. Both assistants can tell you who was the last Democratic president, how far the moon or sun is from the Earth, or how to remove a stain from a skirt. But ask the difference between a gabled roof and a hip roof, when apple season ends, or how to rid your basement of spiders, and only Google will answer. Alexa gives a stumped “hmm, I’m not sure,” or, “Sorry, I don’t know that one.”
Move over Alexa, Google Home devices take the crown as the most intelligent smart speaker.
The choice keeps getting easier and clear with every test. Google Home just achieved a major victory once again. Google Home and Amazon Echo have been long fighting for smart speaker dominance and a place in your home, but it has been proven time and again with all these Digital Assistant tests that one is severely more capable than the other, and that one is Google Assistant in Google Home.
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