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Connected home assistants are making their way onto the countertops of many American homes. Most of us are familiar with Alexa, Amazon’s first introduction to the connected assistant market. Amazon has been very successful in this market. In less than a couple years alone, they released three different assistants: Echo, Tap and Dot. They all basically do the same thing with slight variations; unlike others, Tap isn’t always turned on so you can’t always access the device. Instead, you actually have to tap on the microphone and say the command.
These home assistant devices are only one example of the ‘internet of things’ because they make our homes and devices more connected, forming a web of interactive technology.
These devices are hands-free speakers that you can control with your voice. With a simple verbal command like “Hey Alexa, can you tell me the forecast for today?” Alexa and similar devices will tell you. This means that these devices are always listening. But don’t worry, your personal information is encrypted for privacy and user security.
As the demand for a variety of these devices increase, many companies and startups are beginning to come out with alternatives. In October of 2016 Google and Amazon both release more affordable devices. If you are considering buying a voice controlled assistant, here is everything you need to know about Google Home and Amazon Dot.
Amazon Dot- perfect for basic needs
It’s tiny. It stands at 1.3 inches, so it blends into any space. As far as compatibility with other devices goes, Dot has an audio-out port and is bluetooth compatible.
The smaller version of Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) but almost as powerful. It doesn’t have an internal speaker, so you can’t play any music. However, the audio-out port and bluetooth connectivity allow users to connect your wireless speaker and then control your speaker through the Dot. It’s only $50 and it’s great for students who don’t have a lot of space but want to start their connected home. This device works best if you have Amazon’s Echo, however, you can still find use in this product if it is your introduction into the world of home assistants. After trying it out myself, Amazon Echo is one of those devices that lives up to the hype.
Google Home- pricy but worth it.
A minimalist’s dream home connected device. Google Home can fit in any home or any style of home due to it’s simple, elegant design. It is a little more expensive than the Dot, coming in at $129 dollars. One of the cool things about the design is that you can change the base of it and get whatever color attachment you want. You can stream any type of music from any device and it has a decent speaker quality. The voice recognition isn’t that great with a lot of noise going on but in a quiet, no music space it works just fine. You can activate the voice commands by saying “Hey Google” or “Okay Google,” similar to the voice command on their search engine. As an assistant, Home is extremely basic. For example if you need to make a shopping list, ask about the weather, set morning alarms. Things like that. Obviously, Google does search really well. So Home is perfect for those moments when you’re like “What sound does an elk make?”