9 Things Amazon Echo Can Do That Google Home Can’t

Amazon Echo has Google Home beat when it comes to these features.

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Amazon Echo and Google Home are similar in a lot of ways. They can be used to automate smart devices around your home, play music, look up information, tell you the weather and help organize your schedule.

There are some things Google Home can do that Echo can’t, like understanding two-part questions or multiple languages. But there are many more things Echo can do that Google Home can’t. Before you choose your new voice assistant smart speaker, take a look at Echo’s advantages over its rival.

Alexa Can Whisper

There are times, like when the baby is napping or it’s the middle of the night, when your voice assistant must respond quietly. Alexa can whisper when needed. To turn on Whispered Responses mode say, “Alexa, turn on whisper mode.” Once it’s on, when you whisper to Alexa, it will whisper back. When you talk at normal voice levels, the voice assistant will mimic you and match your volume.

Find out other things you probably didn’t know Alexa could do.

Echo Has Gaming Buttons

While you can play voice games with Amazon Echo and Google Home, only Echo has game controllers that you can pair with the smart speaker to add an extra level of fun. These controllers, called Echo Buttons, can be used to play 100 Alexa enabled games like Battleship, Trivial Pursuit and Simon.

It Has a Remote

Echo also has another accessory that Google Home doesn’t — a remote. You can use the Amazon Voice Remote to give Alexa commands when you’re in another room and your Echo can’t hear you. You can also use it to control Amazon Firestick and newer Amazon Fire TVs.

Amazon Order Notifications

Since Echo is made by Amazon, it can exclusively access information about your Amazon orders. Alexa will notify you when your packages have been shipped and when they have been delivered automatically. You can also check on the status of your Amazon orders by saying, “Alexa, where’s my order?”

Shop on Amazon

You can use your Echo to shop on Amazon, too. Just say something like, “Alexa, add paper towels to my cart.” Alexa will find the best price, let you know, then add the item to your cart. When you’re done, you can say, “Alexa, purchase items in my cart,” and the assistant will walk you through finishing up the purchase. These Amazon shopping hacks will make ordering easier, too.

Send Text Messages

One of Echo’s more handy features is voice-to-text. Using Alexa commands, you can send texts to phones with just your voice. You can say, “Alexa, send a text message.” Alexa will then guide you through the process.

Note that this feature only works for contacts with the Alexa app on their phone. You can check the app to see who can be contacted and who can’t by tapping on the “Communication icon,” then tapping “New Message.” The people you are able to text will be listed on the screen.

You Can Put Alexa in Guard Mode

Alexa Guard is a feature you can activate on your Echo that functions as a security monitor. It can listen for strange noises, like breaking glass or alarms from smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and alert you on your phone. It can also make smart lights turn on and off to trick potential intruders into thinking someone is home when you’re away.

To set up Guard Mode, go to the Alexa app and tap on More–>Settings–>Guard. From there, the app will guide you through the set-up.

This service is free, but you can also purchase a Guard Plus subscription for $4.99 a month or $49 a year. Guard Plus has perks like an emergency helpline and advanced listening features. Here’s another way that Alexa can help during emergencies.

Echo Streams More Music Choices

While Echo and Home can stream Spotify, Pandora, Sirius, YouTube Music and several other music streaming services, only Echo can stream Amazon Music, Prime Music and Apple Music as well.

You Can Create New, Customized Abilities

If there is a custom ability you wish your Echo has but doesn’t, you can make it yourself via the Blueprints feature. Access Blueprints through the app by tapping on the “More” icon, then choosing “Blueprints” from the list.

Once you’re in Blueprints, the app will guide you through creating new skills. Some things you can try are building an Alexa accessible chore chart, creating event countdowns, making audio greeting cards or blogs, and creating a skill to organize an upcoming vacation. If you have a dog, there are 14 Alexa skills that are already created you need to download.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford is a technology and internet safety and security expert for SafeWise.com and has contributed her insights to dozens of national publications, both in print and online. Her goal is to make gadgets less mystifying, one article at a time.