Can’t decide between Google Home (now Nest Home) or an Amazon Echo with Alexa? Well, why not mix and match!
Can Google Home and Alexa work together?
There are two ways to read this question. In short, Google Home and Alexa will work together, in the sense that there’s nothing stopping you using them in the same house or even the same room.
Unfortunately, they won’t actively cooperate with each other, with neither company having an incentive to make that happen.
Why would you want to mix and match Amazon Echo and Google Home?
I have a handful of each because I’ve reviewed plenty over the years. Both are good for different things, so it does kind of make sense to mix and match. The Amazon Echo devices tend to have far better sound quality, making them better music players, but Google Assistant – Google Home’s answer to Alexa – is several magnitudes smarter, which makes it better for the day-to-day answering of questions.
While plenty of third-party software and hardware will work with both (Spotify, Philips Hue bulbs, etc.) there are also exclusives for both. Audible, for example, is owned by Amazon, so won’t work on Google Home devices natively, requiring you instead to connect via Bluetooth if you want to listen, which is just plain fiddly.
Will having an Echo and Google Home device cause problems?
Not that I’ve found. The one issue I have found is remembering which ‘wake word’ to use in which room. I’ve gotten so used to saying “Alexa”, that remembering to say “Okay Google” instead often trips me up. To call that a minor problem would be overstating things, bluntly.
As a general rule of thumb, though, it’s best to keep each virtual assistant managing different things to prevent them becoming out of sync. In other words, if you use Alexa to turn on and off the lights, it’s probably not worth teaching Google Assistant to do the same thing – it’s just asking for trouble.
On the same note, it’s probably best to use Google functions on Google Assistant and Amazon functions on Alexa. In other words, use Amazon-owned Ring Doorbell on your Echo, but your Google-owned Nest thermostat on your Google Home.
Read next: Best Alexa Skills: are there any worth installing?