“Ok Google, are you better than Alexa yet? “

What Google I/O’s Home announcements mean for Amazon Alexa

Both Google Home and Google Assistant were featured heavily in this year’s Google I/O conference.

But do these announcements mean Google will finally close the gap on Alexa?

Here are the six updates from the conference that we think are most important:

  1. Hands free calling: the new landline

If you live in the US or Canada, Google Home will let you call anyone in your contacts list for free. And if you were worried about accidentally calling your husband’s mother instead of your own, Google’s clever voice recognition means it will work out which user contact list to use based on your voice.

2. Better music playback- Spotify integration and bluetooth

Google Home now supports music-streaming from non-premium Spotify accounts, SoundCloud, and Deezer, as well as new video streaming services such as HBO Now. It can also act as a bluetooth speaker, allowing you to play from a mobile device or laptop. Given that one of the biggest uses of the Home or Amazon Echo device is to play music, it’s good to see that Google are still spending time to improve this area as well as creating new features.

3. Screen casting and visual responses

Google Home will now cast visual responses to your devices, including your phone and your TV (if it’s connected to a Chromecast). This means being able to see directions on your phone once you’ve asked for them out loud, or streaming that hilarious cat YouTube video to your TV- and it doesn’t have to be an Amazon Fire TV.

5. Transactions

Pay with your voice! A new Transactions API (still in development preview) will enable customers to add items to a shopping cart and purchase from third party partners.

6. Notifications and Proactive Assistance

This feature (coming soon) will take advantage of other apps to give you personalised updates on traffic, flights, weather, your calendar and the other things Google already knows you care about.

So now that we’ve seen the updates, let’s compare the new Google Home to Amazon Alexa. We’ll let you decide who wins this round!

Opearlo Voice is an analytics and content management platform for voice apps. We also design and develop apps for Alexa, Cortana and Google Home.

Find out more here.