Home device technology like Amazon Echo and Google Home are becoming more and more intertwined with the functionality of your home. Later in this article, we'll put Alexa and Google Home to the test by asking each of them to locate a plumber and an air-conditioning repair company and let you know the results. But first, for those of you who haven't yet been introduced to these digital assistants, here's a quick overview of Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home (Google Assistant).
Alexa is the name of Amazon’s virtual home assistant and it works with the Amazon Echo or the Echo Dot. Google Assistant is Google's digital aide and works with Google Home and android phones. Both assistants are voice activated and love to help you out around the house. For example, you can tell your assistant to turn up the heat, dim the lights, and turn on your TV. Too bad it can't make popcorn! You can get a weather report, set timers and alarms, and get daily news reports. The list could go on and on. And check out this video of a robot chef that will cook your meals for you! Alexa and Google Assistant aren't quite there yet...
Here's what we’ve been wondering about Alexa and Google home: How do these devices generate online search results? Do they take star-ratings into consideration? What about online reviews or SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
Putting Alexa to the Test
When I asked Alexa to find me a plumber, she directed me to three top-rated plumbers in my area and indicated that I should look at her skills for more information.
When I asked for AC repair, she gave me an actual fix for the problem and told me that I could purchase a part on Amazon.com. When I asked for an AC repair in my area, she gave me results that were a little closer to what I was looking for, based off of the top-rated businesses in my zip code. If I were to punch in my address, (which is already in the app, but apparently I’m doing something wrong) she could get me more specific answers.
For the most part, she likes to tell me to go to the Alexa App for more details. Here’s the full conversation:
(That sound bite didn’t require much editing, but let me tell you, Alexa was eager to find me a plumber and an AC repair.)
And what site does Alexa like to use for her ratings? None other than Yelp! Here are a couple of pictures that appeared when I looked at the app for more information:
Putting Google Assistant to the Test
I personally haven’t had as much experience with Google Home, but we had our very own Anna Blake ask her Google Assistant to search for a plumber and an AC repair company.
It seems like Google Assistant provides a lot more detail. While it doesn’t have the luxury of referencing an online store in the process of world domination like Amazon, it does have about 70% of the internet to pull from—that’s Google’s share of the global search engine market.
So you’ve probably guessed that when Anna asked her Google Assistant for a plumber, the device used algorithms similar to those that would be used were she to type in “Plumber” or "AC Repair" in the Google search bar on her laptop. We’re talking SEO, Google Map ratings, and Google local services like Google Guarantee, a business certification program rolled out in certain areas across the country. (For more on that, check our story, “Google’s ‘Google Guarantee”)
Anna’s Google Assistant is linked to all of her Google accounts. After asking Google Assistant for help in finding a plumber and AC repair, she received an email from her device that gave her more information about the plumber and AC repair companies that came in the device’s search.
This is what Anna said:
This is the "Google assistant" which is native within new Androids and Google devices like the Google Home (it can also be installed as a separate app). It is connected to my Google account, which is connected to my Google maps, and my Gmail, etc. That's how it knows my address and Gmail account. There is also a Google Home app for my phone, so that I can give directives to my Google Home from my phone.
Here’s the conversation the two of them had in an effort to find the service providers in her area (any blank space is omitted information to keep Anna’s privacy. (Let’s be real though, who’s got privacy anymore! We can try, can’t we?)
Here’s a visual of the details Google Home emailed to Anna:
It appears that Google Assistant is much more thorough in providing results for a service-oriented business. Plus, Anna could have called any of the businesses on the spot while Alexa will only call people who have the Alexa app or a supported Echo device.
The bottom line is that both Alexa and Google Assistant are taking your business into consideration when you ask them to search for companies. Just one more reason to make sure your Business Listings are in order and that you're keeping up with your online reviews. Let us know how your digital assistants are working for you!
Matthew Van Deventer is a content creator for WebPunch. As a dealer of words he dabbles in journalism and loves a good story, whatever the medium. Matthew lives outside of Denver, CO with his wife, daughter, and pup, Chewy.