Smart speakers connect to your smart devices and give you a higher level of control and convenience by allowing you to issue voice commands. You don’t have to go whip out your smartphone or go to your control hub every time you need to get certain smart devices to perform.
If you have Amazon Echo, you can tell its voice-activated virtual assistant, Alexa, what you want or, if you have Google Home, you can ask Google Assistant.
Alexa and Google Home will work alongside each other if Alexa refers to your Amazon Echo speaker. However, it can be tricky having both in the same room and connected to the same smart devices. So you will need to take measures to make sure they don’t get confused or execute the same commands.
This article will talk about smart speakers and voice-activated virtual assistants. More specifically, it will explain the relationship between Amazon Echo and Alexa and Google Home and Google Assistant and whether they’re interchangeable. You will also find out whether you can use these two different smart speakers at home together and the caveats of doing so.
Smart Speakers and Voice-Activated Virtual Assistants
Smart speakers are different from ordinary speakers. They are also a voice command device with a built-in microphone and an integrated software called a virtual assistant. These VAs are voice-activated and offer interactive actions, allowing you to activate apps and certain connected home automation devices without using your hands.
To put things simply, it is the virtual assistant that makes a smart speaker smart. The VA takes your voice as its input and identifies your command or question, then gives you a verbal response or confirmation. And if necessary, it interacts with other services.
All you need to do is say certain “hot words” or “wake-up expressions” to prompt your VA to communicate with other apps, with other smart devices, or with the internet. For instance, if you have an Amazon Echo smart speaker, you can use the wake-up expression “Alexa” for it to listen to your command and execute it. For Google speakers like Google Home, you can start your commands by saying “OK Google.”
What Can Your Smart Speaker and Virtual Assistant Do for You?
Your smart speaker and VA can do many things for you.
For one, your VA can do internet searches for you. For example, if you say, “Alexa, what is the weather in New York City?” Your smart speaker will connect with the weather service online and tell you, conversationally, whether it’s sunny or rainy in NYC, as well as its temperature.
You can also ask Alexa or Google Assistant to play a particular video on YouTube, and it will look for that video and communicate with your smart TV so you can watch it without having to move a finger.
You can make calls to anybody on your contacts list without dialing your phone, play music, open your door’s smart locks, turn on your smart lights and indicate what colors you’d like them to be, set your ideal temperature on your smart thermostat, and many others.
You can still ask your virtual assistant to do many other things for you via your smart speaker, depending on what smart devices are connected to your home automation system or even the apps you have installed on your phone or tablet.
Can Alexa and Google Home Work Together?
This question is quite confusing and ambiguous. It can be taken to mean any of these questions:
Can You Have Google Home As Your Smart Speaker and Alexa as a Virtual Assistant?
Alexa is a virtual assistant, and Google Home is a smart speaker, but these two do not belong together. If you wonder whether you can ask “Alexa” to do something for you when your smart speaker is a Google device, the answer is no. You can’t because Alexa doesn’t exist.
Your Google Home smart speaker has Google Assistant as its proprietary VA, and it won’t respond to commands that begin with “Alexa.” Alexa only works for Amazon smart speakers.
Can You Have Both Google Home and Amazon Echo Smart Speakers (and Both Google Assistant and Alexa As Virtual Assistants) in the Same House?
Many people have referred to Amazon speakers like Alexa, so if you ask whether you can have both Google Home and Amazon Echo smart speakers in one room or one house, yes, you can. These two smart speakers can co-exist, together with their proprietary VAs, Google Assistant and Alexa.
You can use both devices to carry out full functions in the same room or same house without them interfering with one another.
However, it helps to know that there are certain things that Google Home can do that Amazon Echo can’t and that Amazon Echo can do that Google Home can’t. So it is best to use them for specific and unique purposes to maximize their capabilities.
If You Have Both Amazon and Google Smart Speakers, Will Your Google Speaker Also Respond to Commands You Issue to Alexa and Vice Versa?
Alexa and Google Assistant have different hot words or wake-up expressions. Generally, if your command is for Alexa, it is your Amazon speaker that gets to work. And if your command is for Google Assistant, it is your Google speaker that performs the job.
You also need to note that Google Assistant is very conversational and responds to conversation phrases and complete sentences. Meanwhile, Alexa responds to direct commands or short and basic phrases better.
Nevertheless, Alexa and Google can both pick up almost the same commands you issue, so it is simple to use them in the same house. There are just ways to maximize their function better.
Tips on How To Use Both Alexa and Google in the Same House
Having both Amazon and Google speakers at home can be a great thing, especially if you know each device’s strengths and weaknesses.
For Amazon and Google Home to work well together, it is best to:
- please place them in different locations or areas inside your home
- get a third-party smart home application that would help establish controls
- use each smart speaker for unique purposes that suit it best
- limit voice commands to one speaker and mutes the other
Different Speakers, Different Locations
Each speaker is great for a specific set of tasks that different devices in specific areas of your home will be performing. For example, Amazon Echo is excellent in quiet areas or in close quarters of your house where you sleep or work or where your children study.
This is because the speaker has parental control settings that will give you peace of mind when you cannot supervise your kids.
For open areas like the kitchen and living room, a smooth speaker system like Google Home would be perfect. You would be able to interact with Google Assistant and even play music without being drowned out by background noises, like the sound of your kids playing or the sound of your cooking.
Third-Party Smart Home App
The most popular apps you can use with Google Assistant and Alexa include IFTTT, Yeti, and Stringify. Using third-party software can help you establish strings of commands that you will program into each smart speaker. This way, you don’t get confused as you have everything on one platform, and it would be easy to keep track of them.
Assigning Specific Tasks to Each Speaker
Your smart speakers will be easier to manage if you assign them specific tasks. This avoids confusion between the devices and helps prevent redundancy in the tasks.
For instance, your Google Home can control the music and the entertainment devices, while Alexa or Amazon Echo can control your lights, locks, and security devices.
If both smart speakers are connected to one device, there could be issues between them if they both try to execute one command.
Assign Voice Tasks to One Speaker and Mute the Other
If your Amazon and Google speakers are in the same room, you can easily manage them by assigning specific voice tasks to each of them and muting the other. For example, if you want to know more about the weather, you can assign the voice command to Google Home and mute it on Amazon Echo.
Google smart speakers, like Google Home, have Google Assistant for its virtual assistant, while Amazon smart speakers, like Amazon Echo, have Alexa. However, many people now use the name “Alexa” to also refer to Amazon Echo.
Nevertheless, these two smart speakers can co-exist in the same house or in the same room as long as you can manage their tasks, the voice commands they would respond to and perform, and their optimal location. These two devices do tend to get confused if they are both executing the same command.