Three Things to Know About Smart Speakers with Google Assistant

Don’t trust managing your life to just any AI assistant.

Since its debut in May 2016, Google Assistant has emerged as one of the big three AI agents, alongside Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. You might have a bit of trouble getting it to tell you why the sky is blue, but if that’s not a deal-breaker, it has a number of advantages over other AI voice assistants. First, Google is a great listener. It won’t require you to rephrase a question or command as often as Alexa, which is quite strict about specific syntax. Second, although it can’t make calls to emergency numbers, it can place international calls if it’s linked to a Google Fi account or Google Voice account with credits. Third (and perhaps not surprisingly), no AI assistant gives better directions than Google.

It has voice prompts that talk you through pairing, making wireless connections to devices enabled with NFC (near-field communication) easier. Amazon

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For households where multiple people will be using it, Google has a sophisticated voice-match system. It can offer personalized calendars, flights, payments and photos, and you can use it to set your own default media services. It also remains active for a few seconds after responding to a query, in case you have a follow-up task, and it can understand the word “and” when it’s used in both commands and in lists.

Its built-in mic allows you to conduct conference and personal calls from a wireless range of about 30 feet. Amazon

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Google is known for getting us from point A to point B in a timely and efficient manner, which gives its AI assistant a clear advantage. It offers solid time estimates and does a good job organizing transit information. If you’re running short on time, you can use it to get traffic overviews and traffic conditions in a particular region, and before you head out, you can have it send directions to the Google Assistant app on your phone for easy navigation.

It features built-in noise- and echo-cancelling for hi-fi meetings, and can be totally submerged in H2O and still function. Amazon

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Google Home, a smart-speaker vehicle for Google Assistant, has an interpreter mode that supports more than a dozen different languages. If you have German houseguests and you want to communicate with them in their language, all you have to say is “Hey, Google, be my German translator.” For bilingual speakers, you can communicate with Google Assistant in several different languages at once.

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This model can run for up to 16 hours on a full charge and can change its EQ based on if it’s inside or outside. Amazon

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An eight-mic configuration means Google Assistant can hear you and respond even when loud music is playing. This model also works with Amazon’s AI. Amazon

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