The battle of the personal voice assistants
For the last 18 months I have been using the amazon echo (Alexa) as a personal assistant. I imported Alexa from the United States and used a workaround to get the app to function in Australia. From the moment I began using Alexa I was impressed. For $79AUD it is great value. From setting timers, playing Triple J, listening to Spotify, reading the news and weather forecast in the morning.
Recognising the Australian accent has been one of the difficulties with Alexa, but if she couldn’t understand me I would put on a horrible American or Scottish accent and she would work out what I was saying.
Alexa has been so reliable, but when the internet goes out she is out. If you have unreliable internet like I do at home don’t trust her to wake you up in the morning. Alexa relies on a server connection to operate.
The Google Home
I now own a Google Home and a Google Home Mini. You can purchase these from several retailers around Australia. The Google Home is very similar to Alexa in function and pricing. Google Home obviously uses the Google search engine and Alexa uses Microsoft Bing search engine.
For some reason though, the Google Home recognizes my Australian accent and generally understands every word I say, whereas with Alexa, it can have some difficulty. Hopefully its speech recognition ability can be improved before it’s released to the Australian market.
I have now fully rewired my home so that I can control the lights with the personal assistant and both Alexa and Google work great. The Google assistant does have a longer delay after giving it a command. It takes about 3 more seconds for google to turn a light on. This is probably because it has to route through Google and 3rd party servers to complete the command. Whereas Alexa uses a more direct path to achieve the same end result.
I don’t know where Siri is. Apple have announced that they’re developing their own model. I’m wondering if Apple must be trying to copy their competitors and then make theirs better.
Conclusion for the Australian Market
Alexa will always have a soft spot in my heart as it was the first personal assistant to market and I was able to automate my house using it before Google came on the scene. I learnt a lot using Alexa which has been incorporated into my Google Home setup.
It is possible to import Alexa but she doesn’t comply with the Australian standards as she doesn’t have the Regulatory Compliance Mark.
With Siri not at market yet and the Amazon Echo not yet released in Australia it makes Google Personal Assistant my preferred choice.
Google Home Assistant is the clear winner for early 2018 in the Australian market place.