There’s always been this rivalry between the Amazon and Google’s respective voice assistant devices. And it makes sense: both do similar things, answer questions, are meant to live in similar spots in your house, etc. Now though, Amazon recently launched their latest device in their Echo series of voice assistants, the Echo Show, and it’s essentially an Amazon Echo with a screen so it can now show you things instead of just telling them to you.
Now, the Google Home doesn’t have a screen, but they do have Chromecast in their arsenal and Google Home can cast some things you ask it to that so the question arose, “can a Google paired with a Chromecast keep up with the Echo Show?”
The Echo Show, has a speaker system and microphones similar to the Echo but it also has a large touchscreen display and a camera it can utilize, as well. Now, aside from all the audio only stuff that both it and the Home can do, let’s focus on just the things that these devices can do when a screen is involved.
We can give Google a screen to utilize by using a TV with a Chromecast connected to it which allows Google to play things on it like YouTUbe videos, Netflix, etc. but the big downside to this option is that Google, can’t quite turn on the TV (although this feature is coming supposedly) so you either have to first manually turn it on or leave it on constantly, which just feels like a bad idea already.
Now as for testing what these two screen enabled voice assistants can do, both can be told to show a specific video and will be able to play them, both can be told to show a recipe and play that (with Google just picking a YouTube video while the Echo Show uses an AllRecipes app), there’s already some differences worth noting.
The first difference you’ll notice here is that Google just picks a video for you that it thinks will work and that’s all it is, a video, no steps or ingredients for the recipe, no options of videos, just a video. The Echo Show, on the other hand will show you options for videos and recipes that you can select by saying show 1, 2, 3, etc. and for the recipes in the AllRecipes app, it’ll show you the written recipe/ingredients first and give you the option to say Play Video after.
And this is pretty much where the Google Home/Chromecast combo starts to lose the video battle pretty badly. Besides watching videos on YouTube and recipes, the Echo Show also allows you to see lists of movies playing, shopping lists, lyrics to songs, displays news highlights you can ask it to elaborate on, calendar events and more. All things that the Home, being that it wasn’t obviously designed with a screen in mind, just can’t do.
And then there’s one of my favorite feature of the Show, drop in. Using the Alexa app on your phone, you or anyone you give access to, can simply tap Drop In and choose the Echo Show to instantly be connected in a video call with the screen and check on the house or ask someone in the kitchen how many lemons you should bring back from the grocery store.
The Google Home is supposed to get the ability to actual call any phone number in the US and not just other app users but it’s still not available yet and no word on how it would handle video calls, of course.
Along with this drop in, there’s also companies, like Ring, that will allow the Echo Show to check on their security cameras and display them on the Echo Show screen. Google might be able to add this feature but, of course, it would still need the TV, etc.
Bottom line, Google Home has some screen-enabled abilities but since it doesn’t have one built in (and no camera) it simply isn’t in the same category as the Echo Show. It is still WAY better at answering general knowledge questions, and can definitely give the original Echo a run for its money, but if you want a device to show you and not just tell you thing, you have to get the one with the word Show in the name. Weird.
Thanks for reading/watching and what do you guys think? Will Google just give this genre to Amazon? Will they come up with a Google Home with a screen or some other way to integrate a screen? Let me know what you guys think in the comments below, love to hear from you!
Also, be sure to chat with me on Twitter about it, too!