Things You Can Do with Amazon Echo

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Dave Limp Senior Vice President Amazon Devices and Services introduces Amazon Alexa Echo and the All New Echo Dot at a product launch in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION

It is important to note from the get-go that as a voice-controlled smart speaker, the Google Home is fantastic at the most basic elements of its job.

"Google Home, like every robot sidekick you've seen in a sci-fi movie, is incredibly literal".

By now, most of us are familiar with the Amazon Echo family: the original Echo, the smaller Echo Dot, and the portable Echo Tap. Surely, I thought, after collecting all that info about the world (and about me) for years and years, Google would crush Amazon in the home-intelligence race.

Unlike the top of the Echo, which you can rotate to adjust volume, the slanted top surface on the Home is pleasantly responsive. And no need to lift a finger to check the calendar.

Of course, I have to get used to speaking aloud with no one around. Anyone within hearing distance will know when I'm seeing the doctor or leaving my apartment empty for vacation. On Tuesday, Google announced a similar smart speaker called Google Home [pictured above], which will be available in November for $129. It comes down to the volume control having physical buttons over a volume ring, the removal of the LED power light, and a new button combination rather than a dedicated reset button.

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Neither device is all that proactive. This extends to Google Home as well, writes Steve Kovach of Business Insider. My first unit wouldn't recognize my Wi-Fi network and I had to use a temporary workaround to get connected.

You also agree that your personal information may be transferred and processed in the United States, and that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy. On the other hand, I might find a stranger's voice jarring when I think I'm alone. Sure, I have an appointment at 11 a.m., but where is it and with whom? But unlike the Pixel, I don't have to touch anything to get an answer if I don't want to - I can just speak. It's back to the phone.

The speakers are more powerful when they coordinate with your other devices. Speech technology has come far and is continually being perfected. It can tell you the weather. And while Google's Home isn't always flawless, it's good enough that I got very comfortable asking it basic queries without a moment's thought, instead of carefully crafting sentences before even opening my mouth, as I've had to do with other voice gadgets. Ask Echo about the Cubs, and you'll hear the score. That gives you a sense of the vast supply of data that Google has access to and its ability to quickly analyze it and take a guess at what you're looking for. However, Home offers a lot more flexibility in how you issue commands.

If you're someone who loves tapping into Google's mighty store of knowledge, don't sleep on Google Home.

Companies investing in voice interfaces will eventually make them more useful by programming better intelligence into them, said Bill Haskins, an analyst at Wainhouse Research LLC in Duxbury, Mass. Watching TV shouldn't take a lot of work.

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According to the Shopping lists, both of the devices as down in this feature.

When Google Home debuted last month, Rishi Chandra, vice president of product management for Home products, said he anticipates Google Assistant being as big or bigger than Android, the company's mobile operating system. It knows about my upcoming flight, based on reservations in Gmail. "Okay Google, how do I make a pumpkin pie?" Today, smart home technology exists within walled gardens; some devices connect only with Alexa, some with HomeKit, others connect to neither and rely on proprietary controls. It also never asks for a clarification if I trip over a word or speak too fast. And Home is alone in setting alarms more than 24 hours away.

"The speaker isn't stereo and lacks much of a low end, despite the two passive "radiators" meant to increase bass performance". The Smart Home Skill API, another part of the ASK, reduces the coding required to control a wide variety of devices. Both devices might be able to summon an Uber, but for Echo, Uber is only one of more than 3,000 Skills.

Google still has bugs to work out. Home told me the Cubs are the regular-season division leaders and are based in Chicago. Duh!

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