Home assist

Alexa-enabled Echo speakers are available for pre-order in Australia and will begin shipping from February. 9NEWS technology expert Trevor Long gives his verdict on the Amazon product and its chief rival, Google Home.

There's a new wave of technology sweeping the globe and it's blowing right across Australia right now - Personal Voice Assistants. 

Six years ago Apple launched their Siri voice assistant. Built into your phone, she was able to respond to simple commands like "set a reminder" or "what is the weather in Melbourne" and even make phone calls. 

An announcement today confirmed the Amazon Echo will be available in stores around Australia, priced at $149 (Supplied).

Not to be outdone, some of the biggest tech companies in the world got started on their own. Amazon's Alexa was launched in 2014. Paired with a small device you sit in your home, Alexa is always listening to respond to your command. 

Two years ago Google hit back with their own "Google Assistant" device for your home called "Google Home". 

It took some time for them to hit Australia, with Google Home launching in August last year, and today Amazon Echo devices were announced as being available from February in Australia. 

So - how do they stack up head to head? 9NEWS' technology expert takes a look.


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Woolworths Rewards sent me one of these thing - gratis - a Google Home Mini. I unpacked it, tried to make some sense of the cryptic instructions - mainly, I think, about how it would help me buy more at Woolies, it was all gobbly gook to me. I put it back in the box and there it will probably stay until one of my grandkids interprets the instructions into plain English and explains how I can 'download' the 'app'.  I figure I have survived over 70 years without this sort of gizmo and I am sure I can manage a few more years without it. I am not against new technology, I love my laptop, but some things are totally a waste of resources to produce. Also, as an engineer, I am of the opinion that the more complicated things are the more likely they prone to fail.





I too have a Google Home Mini from Woolies .... and am in a  similar situation to you.

My youngin tried to install it to my mobile with no success ... it  is plugged in next to my computer to which it occasionally responds ... like when they had home Google on a catch up TV programme I was watching ???

Perhaps the box is the right place for it

...but I was so excited when I got it :(

Agree Eddy.  I subscribe to the KISS principle. Plus good to keep as physically active as possible. 

Think I will stay in the Apple universe 

Specs Showdown: Google Home Vs Amazon Echo Vs Apple HomePod




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