Richard Bucker

Review - Google Home vs Amazon Tap

Posted at — Dec 1, 2016

I was originally introduced to Alexa at a friends house where they had an Amazon Echo (tethered for power) in the kitchen. I was intrigued by the audio quality and the non-trivial depth of responses. So after some investigation I made my first Alexa purchase - Amazon Tap.One nice feature of the tethered models is that Alexa is voice activated “Alexa…” where the Amazon Tap requires the operator to tap the microphone button. The echo and tap models have nice sound and volume where the dot is weaker.Recently we ware watching tv when a Google Home advert played. One thing that caught our attention was the ability to ask google to translate or answer in different languages. Granted it was a pretty superficial demo but I placed our order right away.Amazon Tap - $99, WiFi, smartphone app, Battery, requires Amazon Prime account $99/yr with limited access to music. Amazon offers two music subscriptions… $7.99/mo individual, $14.99/mo family.Google Home - $99, WiFi, smartphone app, Since I have an android phone with a FREE custom domain it worked out of the box. Since I listen to google music on my phone and computer I already had an unlimited Google Music account $9.99/mo (I consider this a push because I already had the service)The Alexa smartphone app is kinda smoke and mirrors. It’s clear that Alexa was meant to capture spontaneous purchases and the app was either the way to consummate the request or give the user a way to be reminded of some search or media that might have been requested. It’s clearly about up-selling.Google Home’s smartphone app seems more about the experience and less about selling although it is a portal to media and apps. But I have yet to see Google’s app tell me about the price of toilet paper.One criticism I have for this type of device is that [a] it leaks personal information [b] supports one primary user… so it’s not multi tenant. The personal info leakage happens when you ask for calendar or contact info. There may also be access to previous purchases or even email… I shudder to think that there is a “read email” command. Google Home will also share search history with your browser across all devices… yikes.Needs some killer features- multi tenant- voice recognition- sync play on multiple devices including chromecast (google home has this)