Being fierce competitors as well as stalwarts in the field of technology, Google and Apple are again in for a neck to neck battle in the smart speaker segment; Google with its Google Home speaker vs the Apple HomePod. Apple unveiled the HomePod at the Worldwide Developers Conference and is perfectly designed to give the Google Home a tough run for its money. Here is how the devices are pitted against each other.

Design

Where design is concerned, Apple HomePod is larger and heavier than Google Home at 2.5 kg. The main reason being the fact that Apple has stressed more on the speakers this time and has packed the device with best of the speakers for the perfect audio experience, a notch better than its competitors. It is 6.8 inches in height and is covered with mesh material. This fabric covered device is available in white and space grey colors.

When you look at Google Home, you can very well see that it is a shorter device at 5.6 inches in height, has sloped top and also weighs much less than the HomePod at 477 gms. However, the device also has touch-capacitive display as well as four LEDs which helps in providing a delightful visual feedback. The Google Home has a polycarbonate body, a white top and its bases come in either fabric or metal. The fabric base comes in marine, violet and mango color whereas the metal bases are available in copper, snow (white) and carbon (black).

Vocal Commands

Google Home uses Google Assistant which lets to tap the vast and expansive Google search engine using your verbal commands and queries. For Apple, the job is done by Siri. Both the speakers enable you to put up questions and receive replies, control music or instruct smart home devices.

However, as things stand, much of the working principle of Siri or Google Assistant (pity it does not have a human name yet) depends on searching the World Wide Web. And it here that key differences, and hence the relative superiority of one over the other arises. Google Assistance of course uses Google search while Siri relies on Bing.

You sure must have got an idea of who is the better of the two. Google has been perfecting its search feature for decades now, so much that online search has become almost synonymous with Google. Bing has made great progress of late but is still trailing Google. While both Google and Microsoft have robust AI programs which they make good use of in online searches, Bing still has some more to cover to level with Google.

And till that happens, Google Assistant, and hence Google Home will be better off than the Siri powered Apple HomePod.

Smart Home Device Integration              

Both the devices support third party device integration. Google Home works with Nest, IFTTT, SmartThings, Wemo and Philips Hue as well as it acts as a Chromecast receiver. So, with the help of your voice, it is possible to ask Google Assistant to make adjustments to your Nest Thermostat or turn off your Philips Hue lights or even fling content via Chromecast to your TV. Google is in the process of working with more partners so you can control more things in the home.

Apple HomePod too supports many third party devices including Nest, IFTTT, SmartThings, Wemo and Philips Hue. In fact, HomePod’s list does run longer than that of Home. It acts as the hub to control HomeKit-enabled devices, such as turning the Philips Hue lights on, without the need for an iPad or Apple TV to act as the hub.

Audio Experience

Home supports innumerable music services including Google Play Music, TuneIn, Pandora, Spotif, iHeartRadio, and others. In contrast, HomePod supports only Apple Music. However both the devices are packed with speakers which are capable of playing multi-room audio. The AirPlay 2 gets this task done for HomePod while the Home works with Chromecast compatible speakers which provide a multi-room audio experience.

All said and done, where the quality of sound is concerned, HomePod is far superior than Home, with larger speaker including seven tweeters for 360-degree sound output as well as a 4-inch woofer to handle bass to provide the best sound experience ever.

Price

Google Home is available at a price of 129 dollars whereas HomePod is slated to be available in December at a price of 349 dollars.

Verdict

If audio experience is your prime criterion then the HomePod wins handsomely. Of course we haven’t heard it long enough to be passing the judgement so confidently but it does sound to be the best given its specifications. But then, none is likely to be buying a smart speaker just for their listening pleasure. In fact, it is here that the smart bit comes up. And the battle quickly squares up between Siri and Google Assistant, the two AI backbones of the individual speakers.

Also, it is here that the Google Assistant seems to have a clear edge over Siri. Assistant, or whatever name it was referred to earlier, has been there longer and draws upon years of dedicated cutting edge research in the fields of artificial intelligence, speech recognition, machine learning and such.

In contrast, Apple started a bit late and even though its Siri has already shaped into a viable competitor that commands respect, it still seems to lack the finesse of its Google counterpart. And it is this that makes the Google Home to have an edge over HomePod even though the latter is a better speaker.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Problem with the HomePod is it is a flawed design. You can NOT have the speaker and microphone be one unit and sell the device based on sound quality.

    The Google Home works seamlessly with other speakers with Chromecast.

    I have a GH on my nightstand next to my bed and talk to it and use the built-in speaker for most things. But if going to listen to music for quality and louder I use a set of Chromecast enabled speakers.

    With the GH next to me and slight behind it can still do commands with the music loud.

    Apple talked about filtering out the music to get the commands. That is not possible without the voice sound waves making it to the speaker which at much volume is NOT possible.

    Apple needs to make the HomePod be two pieces that you can detach. So microphone separate from speaker.

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