A week with an Echo Dot vs Google Home ecosystem

I’m starting an experiment. Part of this has to do with building a skill for work that has to be done in Amazon’s ecosystem, and part of it is I just want to play with an Echo Dot for a bit.

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So an Amazon 3rd Generation Echo Dot was purchased.

I installed the app, found the one power outlet I had free in my house, and proceeded to be impressed by the sound quality and snappiness of the answers.

No, seriously, the answers come ungodly fast. I tested against my Lenovo Smart Display and we’re looking at answers coming 4 seconds faster. Until this I had not pitted my Google Homes against each other, but yeah, non Google products appear to answer significantly slower than the Google-branded Minis.

Pitting the Google Home with screen that I can’t remember the name of vs the Echo Dot they were about the same speed, although Alexa still felt a little snappier and pointed to me.

I introduced my 6yo daughter to Alexa. I asked it if it knew my name and was told “I’m talking to Paul.” Maggie asked the same thing and was prompted to create a voice profile.

During the setup of the voice profile it was supposed to ask her to say things like “Alexa, what’s the weather today.” and “Alexa, turn on the lights.” for training purposes. I know this because it walked me through doing this a few minutes earlier.

What happened is it would ask her to say something, and then trigger itself the instant it said Alexa. So, Maggie was requested to say “Alexa, tur…” beep. and “Alexa, wha..” beep.

I really wish I’d filmed it, it was comedy gold as the Echo Dot activated itself.

I checked, it was running an old version of the firmware still and there was no way I saw to push an update, so we tried again later and it worked.

Maggie, the six year old, asked it to play a song. This is where things went south. She was informed by Amazon that it could not play that song without a music subscription and asked if she wanted to sign up for a three month trial and then be charged $X a month after that.

No people, don’t let my kid do that. We were literally five minutes out of the gate and had my kiddo not been in the room with me we’d be in possession of a couple of music services.

The sound quality on the Echo Dot, got to say, beats the Minis, beats the regular Google Homes.

I’m currently struggling to figure out why some of my skills don’t work. Specifically the Roku skill. Works fine in my app, works fine with Google Home, I’ve added it to the Echo Dot, it shows in the app, and when I ask it to do something it says there are no video skills.

Eh, learning curve. I’ll figure it out. Been a bit busy with this whole tornado and virus thing.

Currently, it’s slightly snappier, doesn’t appear to like my Roku, and needs to default to locked down mode so me and Maggie don’t have to yell “nooooooo!” to a pending charge.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

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