Google Home makes its debut as a direct contender against Amazon’s Echo. Those looking to incorporate smart home features or a digital assistant will be looking closely at the key differences between the two.

The Google Home resembles a “decorative air-freshener”. It’s small form and customizable base makes it easier to blend in with different styles. On the inside it is backed by Google’s massive knowledge base and intuitiveness (and Googleyness).

Home is more like an assistant. You can ask follow-up questions and it easily understands your context. Also, those who use Google Calendar will be able to get a schedule breakdown and traffic report on the fly. Home starts to know you as you use it. It connects with YouTube and Chromecast, making integration easy if you already use them.

There are some downsides though. Home can only link to one account for now (so sharing is out). Also, the speaker is “okay” for music (compared to Echo). Lastly, there is limited third-party support for Home. If you already use smart-home devices, you may want to hold off.

At $129, it is cheaper than Echo and shows a lot of potential.

google home