There are many people who are indeed hesitant to adapt to new technology over fear of giving up too much personal information about themselves, having to their personal conversations listened to or recorded, or simply because they have always lived their lives as they do now and remain resistant. Connected Home is here to help you breathe a little easier. Everything on these devices is still under your control. There are no AI end of the world scenarios on the horizon just yet. All you have to do is educate yourself a little more on what can and cannot be done these devices and a little patience while the device "learns" your habits and your voice.
So what are these personal voice assistants anyway? Well, basically, that is exactly what they are. These guys are virtual assistants made to make you life a little easier by connecting you to your data. They can make phone calls, schedule reminders and appointments, ask questions, and more. They also have a built in speaker that is quite sufficient for smaller spaces such as a kitchen or bathroom. Our favorite part? These guys (plus your network) are the focal point of the "Connected Home" experience. Voice Assistants assist your lighting control, can turn on or off music and movies, control your thermostat, and so much more! Smart devices connect to and are controlled by these voice assistants. You can add a home hub from Lutron or Samsung, and control your smart devices while not even at home!
What are they listening to? This is a question that I wanted answered also, having a Assistant at home myself. So after researching more, I found that both Amazon and Google actually do record requests you make. When you converse with the speaker, it send your voice recording back to the server so it can be "translated" into binary for the device to understand. These recording are ONLY sent at your request, waking from "sleep" when you command with "Alexa" or "OK Google." They do NOT record non-stop and the recordings they have made CAN BE DELETED from your account. The only downside to deleting...your looses the data gained in that conversation, i.e. voice training, that shopping item history, that reminder in your schedule. Plus if you are overly concerned, there is a mute switch on the device itself that turns the microphone off completely until you turn it back on.
How Do they stack up?
As you can see there are some similarities. They both offer a variety of music services, they are both listening, and have their unique identifiers for command inputs, add items to calendar, make shopping lists, control lighting systems, utilize smart systems, control thermostats, and more. Then there are notable differences such as the sound quality of the speaker (Google is the Winner), the devices they can connect to (Alexa is the winner with over 12,000, but Google has 5,000 and growing), and the ability to connect to other speakers (Google via ChromeCast and Amazon via bluetooth). Both can do many of the same features that a normal person would use on a regular basis and over the next few years, one can assume the field will tighten between to two even more. Currently Amazon has around 80% market share with Google and Apple making up the majority of the remaining 20%, mainly because Amazon was first to the market by a couple years.
Overall, We are impressed with both devices and the leaps they have made in these first few years in their infancy. There is much more to come as AI slowly begins to enter our everyday lives. They are slowly becoming a staple in most homes and as their cost and options change, soon just about every home will have some smart features added. Are one of these devices better for you? We suggest a little stick with what you know. Already have an Amazon Prime account? Alexa market is built around Prime, so get an Echo. Love your Android phone? You might want to continue using Google Assistant. Everyone is different and has different needs in the home.
As a Home Automation company, we use personal voice assistants in peoples home on a daily basis configuring multiple applications to save our customers money and time so they can spend both of those on more important matters like family. As a small family business, we appreciate an equitable balance of work and play. Let us help you make more time in these ever shrinking days, while giving you the peace of mind that you can fix anything at home, while on the go. Forget to turn that light off? Leave for vacation and forget to turn the AC off? Coming home late and no outside lights on? Utilizing Google and Amazon, we can fix that!