We published our Google Home review earlier this morning. It sounds awesome, but I can’t buy one. It’s not that I have anything against Google’s technology, it’s that I’m already invested in the Amazon Echo. I wonder how many households this will affect.
I’ve talked about this at length in posts and on the TechnoBuffalo show, but the growing ecosystems offered by manufacturers, including Apple, Google, Amazon and others, is starting to make it incredibly difficult to stick with just one. You’re better off buying an Apple TV if you also own an iPhone, for example. And an Apple Watch and HomeKit-enabled devices. You’re also probably better off with an Android TV if you use Android. And Android Wear and, now, Google Home.
If you’re like me, you have an empty wallet and an assortment of gadgets around the house that makes a Jackson Pollock painting look organized. I have an iPhone, an Apple TV, an Android TV, an Android smartphone, Philips Hue connected bulbs that talk with Apple HomeKit, three Amazon Echo units that work with the light bulbs. Sometimes I think about switching from an Apple Watch to something else but then I remember I won’t be able to control my lights from my wrist. And I need my Apple TV plugged in since that serves as the smart hub for the lights throughout my house. What a waste of money.
Enter the Google Home.
I’m compelled to pick one up because I think Google has the capability to execute better than Alexa over the long run. Google has more data on me than Amazon — though I’m sure I’d be surprised how much the latter knows, given my shopping habits. The problem is, I’ve already invested in three Amazon Echo units and, in some ways, have picked the Apple ecosystem over Android (for whatever reason, I still buy all of my movies on Google Play.) My Echo devices work well enough, and I can’t think of a good reason to spend $390 on three Google Home units to replace what I already own.
In other words, I’d have to think about switching ecosystems that I’ve already invested in. Google Home would make the most sense with Android TV and Chromecast, and down the line, if you also own an Android smartphone. When the next generation of Android Wear watches ship, my guess is they’ll have some sort of tie-in as well.
We need to make ecosystem choices, whether we want to or not
It’s not that I don’t use Android. I use it on a daily basis. But choosing just iOS or Android and investing in an entire ecosystem are totally different things. I can’t use both an Apple ecosystem and a Google ecosystem in my house at the same time. And since the Echo supports HomeKit devices, I’m going to stick with that for now.
I fear my decision, though. Are my Amazon Echo units going to be useless in a few years if Google pulls ahead? Is Apple going to launch its own home device and make my choices even harder? The ecosystem starts with the phone. How many people have already started to invest beyond that, and what does this mean for the future of smart products like Google Home?