Like many tech enthusiasts, I've been using a $180 Amazon Echo intelligent speaker at my home for a year or more. And, while I love using it for some things — playing music and podcasts, setting timers, and re-ordering items from Amazon — I've come to realize that, like Apple's Siri and all other virtual assistants, its Alexa voice-driven artificial intelligence system disappoints a lot.
So I was excited to test Google Home, the $129 Echo competitor that puts the search giant's much-touted new Google Assistant intelligence technology inside a small, but powerful Echo-like speaker and microphone unit. Surely, I thought, after collecting all that info about the world (and about me) for years and years, Google would crush Amazon in the home-intelligence race.
But after nearly a week of using two Google Home units in two different rooms, my conclusions are decidedly mixed. Google Home does beat Alexa and the Echo in some ways, but it's remarkably dumb in others. It needs enough work that, if I were Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, I wouldn't be losing any sleep about it, at least not yet.