Digital voice assistants have infiltrated millions of American homes, and the companies that make these tools would love it if consumers chose a side in the battle for voice-assistant supremacy. If a robot voice is controlling your lights or unlocking your doors, settling on devices from one of the big three companies – Amazon, Apple or Google – is your best bet. But from there, it gets a little complicated.
Omar Gallaga is technology writer for techminutetexas.com. He says there’s not really a true “best” product; choosing a voice-assistant device mostly comes down to the other devices with which you hope to sync it. Gallaga says “home automation” is becoming more common, and consumers like to be able to control devices with their voice.
“We have these smart audio-speaker devices that are becoming popular; now you’re able to do a lot of that with your voice,” Gallaga says.
Gallaga and Texas Standard’s Shelly Brisbin tested different digital home assistants to see which performed better. Gallaga says Apple devices are prone to being brand-exclusive,
“I’ve kind of just ruled Siri right out because none of the Apple Home kits seems to work with any of the devices that I have,” Gallaga says. “The only thing I could get to even show up with Apple stuff is the Apple TV.”
But he says Amazon Echo and Google Home are better able to work with a variety of devices and technology platforms.
When it came to playing music, Gallaga says he had better luck with the Echo mainly because it has had time to learn his preferences — to get to know him.
“I’ve had an Amazon Alexa Echo in my house for awhile, so it knows what I listen to on Spotify. It knows what stuff I’m asking for … it knows my preferences pretty well,” Gallaga says. “The Google Home is new… I just introduced that to my home, so it’s still figuring things out.”
Gallaga says his Google Home will ultimately learn his preferences similar to the way Alexa has, and he says the device is quickly catching up. He also says he likes the way it interprets language.
“I’m really surprised by how much I liked the app,” Gallaga says. “I think it’s a much cleaner, much easier-to-use app than the one for the Amazon products. It speaks to you in a more conversational way than Alexa does sometimes; it’s more forgiving on your syntax.”
Written by Brooke Sjoberg.