Parenting is not for the faint of heart. And most parents are more than happy to welcome a helping hand, whether it's entertaining kids, helping them with homework, or just simplifying household tasks.
Smart home technology can offer much-needed support to parents.
Why parents should consider a Google Home or Amazon Echo device
Most of us know how great voice assistants are for things like finding out the weather forecast or for hearing the latest news.
But for parents, a Google Home or Amazon Echo device goes even a step further, providing both entertainment and a helping hand with kids.
Take a look at some of the ways Google Home or Amazon Echo can help you as a parent:
- Help your baby sleep. When it's nap time, ask your speaker to turn on soothing music or white noise.
- Entertain toddlers and kids with stories. Both kids and parents can say, "Alexa (or "Hey Google!"), tell me a story." Alexa can also read your Audible library of kids books, and Google Home users can access books purchased from Google Play.
- Play music. Music makes everything fun, and smart speakers have a vast library of music to help you as a parent, whether you want to put on the Clean-Up Song to help your kids tidy up or keep them entertained with songs from your own playlists.
- Tell jokes. Want to keep your kids laughing for hours? Show them how to ask Alexa or Google to tell them a joke.
- Help with homework. Parents can't be expected to remember everything from their school days. When your kids are in a bind and need homework help, your smart speaker can help by answering questions.
- Settle a dispute. If you ever feel more like a referee than a parent, let your smart speaker help. Alexa's Kids Court skill is a fun way for kids to settle squabbles. Kids tell Alexa their side of an argument, and then receive a ruling. Google Home also has actions that let you roll a digital die or choose a number between one and 10.
- Teach new things. Your smart speaker can also help your toddlers and kids as they learn the alphabet, numbers, times tables, or other skills.
These are just a few of many ways a Google Home or Amazon Echo can be beneficial to both kids and parents.
Google Home vs. Amazon Echo?
When it comes to smart speakers, Google Home and Amazon Echo are perhaps the best-known in the the industry. Both offer similar functionality and can perform the same tasks—such as answering questions, controlling devices, and playing music—with voice prompts.
Here’s a quick rundown of the two:
- Google Home has the Google Assistant built in. This works like your own personal assistant. Through Google Commands, you can search for web information, get weather updates, traffic routes, and other local information, and control your smart home devices. Google uses third-party actions, which function like apps, to provide more capabilities.
- The Amazon Echo was introduced in 2014 and was the first smart speaker on the market. The Echo relies on its smart assistant, Alexa, to provide info, music, and smart home integration. Like Google's Actions, Alexa uses third-party skills, which are also like apps, to give it increased functionality.
So which is right for you? When trying to decide which is right for you and your family, you’ll want to keep a few key things in mind:
- Compatibility. While both devices will work with your smart devices and phones, Android users who use other Google products may find they prefer to stay with the Google ecosystem and opt for a Google Home. As an Amazon product, Echo allows you to order off Amazon and works with Amazon services, such as Audible and Amazon Music (great for parents who want to play kids’ books or songs over their speaker).
- Smart capabilities. Google Home’s Google Assistant leverages the power of Google Search and Maps and provides detailed responses to a wide range of questions. If you want a capable digital assistant, you can add events to calendars, make lists, and shop through Amazon Alexa.
- Voice recognition. Google Home boasts industry-leading natural language processing, so you can ask questions and give commands in a more conversational tone. Both Google and Amazon speakers have far-field voice recognition that picks up voices even across the room.
- Streaming for music. Amazon Alexa works as a bluetooth speaker for any mobile device, while Google works well with Google products like Chromecast. Both will stream Apple Music or Spotify playlists as well.
- Languages. Google Home can understand two languages at once, making it ideal for multilingual households.
At the end of the day, both speakers offer excellent smart home support and similar features, so the one you choose comes down to personal preference.