By 2050, we could all be living to 120, but how?
It looks like turning 100 will soon be more commonplace
If you’re toying with the idea of purchasing a voice-activated smart speaker, the biggest names in the space are definitely Google Home and Amazon Echo. From “OK, Google” to “Hey, Alexa”, we take a look at what these two smart speakers can do and how they differ.
Research from Think Google in 2017 found some interesting insights into how and why we use smart speakers; like that 72% of people use smart speakers as part of their daily routine, while 41% said they felt like they were speaking to a friend or another person when using them.
It also found that the top four reasons people have smart speakers are: it makes their daily routines easier; empowers them to get answers and information instantly; to do things faster than other devices; and to multitask more easily.
Google Home and Amazon Echo offer many of the same features. These include being able to:
The Google Home Mini is smaller in size, price ($79 RRP) and features than Google Home, but still has plenty of appeal. Available in coral, charcoal and chalk, the Mini is a lightweight 173 grams, uses a micro USB port and has a 360-sound speaker with a 40 mm driver. The Mini also has a few touch controls, for example, you tap its sides to adjust the volume or stop/start an alarm.
One of the main differences between the Home and the Mini is sound, as the Home has a more powerful high-excursion speaker. Priced at $199 RRP, the Home weighs 477 grams, is hands-free and has dual microphones. The Home comes in white or slate but can be customised to match your home with fabric or metal magnetic bases in coral, copper and carbon.
Setting up your Google Home or Mini is pretty straightforward – as is using it. You just need Wi-Fi and the Google Home app. Then, with the help of Google Assistant, you’re ready to go. Google Home integrates with a range of music, audio and entertainment apps and connected devices, like YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Stan, Sony, Google Calendar and more. Up to six people (with Google accounts) can use the Home or Mini in the same household and both come with a two-year warranty.
There was a lot of hype around the arrival of Amazon Echo to Australia in February. The Echo is Amazon’s hands-free, voice-activated smart speaker, which is supported by Alexa, Amazon’s voice service. A perk of Alexa is that it’s always learning, so it becomes more personalised with time and use.
The Echo range also has 360-degree audio and an impressive seven microphones (which will hear your requests even with music playing). Set up is fairly easy, requiring Wi-Fi and the Alexa app. Echo is compatible with a range of apps and services, like Amazon Music Unlimited, Spotify and Google Calendar and smart home devices.
You can also make audio calls or send messages to anyone with an Echo device or the Alexa app. Echo products have a one-year warranty.
When it comes to choosing between Google Home and Amazon Echo (and which size device) much of it will depend on your personal preferences. They offer a lot of the same functionality, but small differences may steer you towards one over the other.
Consider things like what’s most compatible with the apps, services and smart devices you use? How many people will be using it? How big is the space? Do you want a screen? What features do you value most? What’s your budget? Both have their pros and cons, so a little research will help you choose the one best for you.