Choosing your smart speaker vendor
Alexa or Google? Navigating hardware decisions
We founded Voice2Biz Inc years ago on the premise that our technology and services would serve all smart speakers so whatever device you chose, we’d be there.
Initially, that meant all of our skills, actions, and bots, would be cross platform and work equally across Amazon Alexa, Google Home/Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana. Apple was not a player in smart speakers in the early days.
Since our founding, the landscape of smart speakers has changed dramatically.
Microsoft Cortana never took off. Much of their smart speaker APIs never got out of beta. And, what was there, was derived from their bot services and was incredibly buggy.
Apple came out with their HomePod later, but in true Apple fashion, made their technology closed. They stated they didn’t want to compete with Amazon in this market. The result is their HomePod sales are minuscule compared to Amazon and Google.
Google came out with their Google Home device which runs Google Assistant. Initially, the Google devices were somewhat equivalent to the Amazon devices. This quickly changed as Amazon continued to drive their device and software technology forward while Google languished behind.
As of today, the Google Action API capability is but a fraction of the Amazon Alexa API capability.
The available Alexa capabilities are far richer than any of its competition, especially for screen devices.
The result of all this is 90% of the new Mavis capabilities we code and offer are Amazon Alexa specific.
What does this mean for businesses? Which to chose?
It all depends on whether your business wants custom smart device applications (e.g., skills or actions).
If you don’t need or want custom smart device applications for your business, then you can choose either Amazon or Google and be fine. Apple and Microsoft are out.
If you need a custom smart device application for your business, and you only need it to be “audio” and not “visual”, then again both Amazon and Google are good choices.
The big departure is if your company wants a custom smart speaker application that includes visual content. In this case, Amazon is the clear winner by far.
For screen devices, the Google API for visual content is infantile compared to Amazon’s Alexa API.
Given that visual content makes for a far richer experience than audio alone, we always recommend businesses go with smart speakers with screens. This means going with Alexa.
Our MAVIS technology is more and more focused on Alexa multimodal content. For the time being, we’ve stopped adding Google Assistant features because they’re so far behind Amazon. Google simply doesn’t offer nearly the rich multimodal capabilities available from Alexa.
Unable to Remove Alexa Skills from Store
Alexa can be the roach motel of skills; They go IN but don't come OUT Developers unable to remove their skills from the Alexa Store We had an instance where we needed to remove a skill from the Alexa store for a period of time. Normally, this is easy: just...
Amazon Alexa Client Data Security Hole/Risk
Amazon Alexa has a client data security risk with Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS)
Alexa’s Showstopper bugs in their APL code
Oh, the many challenges with Alexa Presentation Language (APL) Our experience with Alexa Skills Challenge: Beyond Voice Amazon periodically holds hackathon contests to get Alexa developers to build skills that use certain Alexa capabilities. The most recent one is the...