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Amazon Echo versus Google Nest: which of the two major smart platforms is right for you?




So you've decided to take the plunge and grab your first smart speaker or display (believe us, you'll love it). But here is the big question: should you choose one that responds to Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant?

That's the choice you'll come across if you choose between Amazon Echo speakers and screens, home to the ubiquitous Amazon Alexa, or Google Nest devices (formerly Home), powered by Google Assistant.

What is the best way to choose between Echo and Nest? Well, that depends on various factors. Do you want to be on the platform that is compatible with the smartest gadgets, or with an assistant who can answer the most diverse questions? Do you prefer the platform with the most third-party apps, or perhaps the one who is the most skilled at setting up daily routines?

Now if someone would ask me to choose the best smart speaker / display ecosystem without any other context, I should go with Amazon Echo.

Thanks to Alexa, Echo devices have the largest number of smart integrations, the smartest routines (or programmable actions triggered by different circumstances), the most third-party skills (or at least the easiest) to discover) and the widest variety of hardware. But again, it's hard to beat a Nest Assistant powered by Google Assistant when answering general questions, and Google has a number of smart home security features for Nest speakers that can help the scales to their advantage.

Let's break it down, starting with …

Best compatibility with smart home

One of the best things you can do with your new Echo or Nest device is to use it as a command center for all other smart devices in your house. Just ask Alexa or Google, and they can turn your lights on and off, check your security cameras, turn on your TV, light up your sunglasses, and even brew beer.

all smart devices work with any platform, and although there are many gadgets that work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, you will often find that they choose one or the other.

Now if there is a specific smart device that you are absolutely set to use and it only works with Alexa or Assistant, well, your decision may have already been made. But if you are just starting out in the smart home world and you don't have specific gadgets in mind, choosing the platform with the widest support for third-party smart gadgets is a good starting point.

Alexa, for its part, is compatible with a staggering number of brands ranging from Arlo and August to Zentec and Zulux, and Amazon claims that more than 85,000 smart gadgets from more than 7,500 brands work with Alexa. Enter the smart start section of your local Best Buy and you'll see the Alexa logo everywhere. In my experience, if a smart product works with a smart platform at all, Alexa is almost always one of them.

Google Nest, which is powered by Google Assistant, is almost as common as Alexa when it comes to smart home integration, but it is still lagging behind with a fairly decent margin. The last we heard, around 30,000 products from more than 3,500 brands work with Google Assistant, including major smart home players such as Arlo, August, Belken, Philips Hue, Kasa, Logitech, LIFX and more from Signify.

Of course, the large number of gadgets with which a smart home platform is compatible does not mean that it is squat if it does not work with the smart devices that are most important to you. But if we are only talking about numbers …


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