If you need to hail an Uber, Amazon's wildly popular virtual assistant Alexa is your go-to connection. But if you're looking for an artificially intelligent conversation partner, Google Home seems like the better fit.
Reviews are in for the Home device which Google releases Friday. The product is Google's answer to Amazon Echo, a cylindrical microphone and speaker that runs Alexa. The consensus: This new thing from Google is very smart.
"All virtual assistants, which are backed by artificial intelligence, are still fairly dumb, including Google's Assistant, Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Microsoft's Cortana. But Google's Assistant is smarter than Alexa," writes The New York Times's Brian X. Chen.
He compared the two products by grilling them with questions for six days to see which performed better. "What I found was that while Echo is currently more capable than Home, partly because a larger number of third-party companies have worked with Amazon to add capabilities to its speaker, Google's product is poised to surpass Echo in the coming years," he says.
In addition to Google Home's artificial intelligence being superior--consider this is a device from the chief indexer of the World Wide Web--Chen writes that the newly hardware-housed virtual assistant tool has a superior audio player.
The Verge echoes Chen's summation that the device has an advantage simply because it is a product of Google. Dan Seifert writes: "The Home has something that the Echo doesn't: a wealth of knowledge about the world, my personal preferences, and my habits. In other words, it has Google."
Tech writers Kate Knibbs and Alyssa Bereznak from The Ringer put the devices to a test in a side-by-side video grilling of the products livestreamed over Facebook Thursday. As the pair asked questions, a colleague tallied points on a whiteboard behind them. By the end of the 25-minute segment, there was a clear winner: Google Home, with 18 points to Echo's eight.
Here's a transcribed excerpt from the livestream. Note that each reporter asks the question in a slightly different way. Still, it's undeniable that Google Home's answer is striking in its detail.
Knibbs: Alexa, is Pepe the Frog, the meme, racist?
Amazon Echo: Sorry, I didn't understand the question I heard.
Knibbs: I guess you have some dignity, then.
Bereznak: OK Google, is the Pepe the Frog meme racist?
Google Home: According to ABC News, Pepe the Frog, a ubiquitous internet meme, has been hijacked by the racist right, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, backing up the Anti Defamation League's decision to add Pepe to its list of hate symbols.
Knibbs: Oh my god.
Bereznak: That was so complete.