Smart Home

You don't have to choose between Alexa and Google—here's how they work together

It’s so easy, you don’t actually have to choose between the two.

Here's how to live with Google and Alexa under the same roof Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

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For those of us building a smart home, we all face the same problem: Which digital assistant to use? Between the vast libraries of skills and abilities of the two biggest players, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, it can be tough to choose. But the good news is that you actually don't have to. You can comfortably live with both assistants under one roof thanks to these helpful tips.

Use both at the same time

You've got a Google Home at one end of the living room and the best Echo speaker, Amazon’s Echo (third-generation) at the other—which one is worth talking to all the time? The answer is both. Both Google Assistant and Alexa offer plenty of connected home prowess. For the most part, they’re both capable of answering the same questions, executing the same smart home commands, and performing the same tricks. This is precisely why it’s so hard to choose between the two.

You shouldn’t have any trouble using a Google-enabled smart speaker placed next to one of Amazon’s Echo speakers. I’ve used both at the same time to control the same connected smart home accounts and answer the same questions without any issue. However, if I find that I prefer one device for a set of voice-controlled tasks, I will mute the other so that there is no room for error. Granted, both assistants respond to different wakeup words ("OK/Hey Google" and "Alexa").

Amazon Echo and Google Home
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

These two can go together like peanut butter and jelly.


If you want to use both Google Assistant and Alexa to control your smart home, you can pair both of their respective apps with your third-party devices with nary an issue so long as you plan on asking one assistant at a time for help. The only time this won’t work is if you have a device like the Amazon Echo Plus (second-generation), which acts as a smart home hub. In this case, Zigbee-compatible devices paired through the Amazon Alexa app aren’t configurable with Google Assistant.

Decide who belongs where

If you happen to be in a situation where you’re currently living with Google Assistant and Alexa, take a second to survey which assistant’s answers you prefer with oft-used commands and which device fits best into your particular usage scenario.

For instance, you might find the Nest Mini is a better smart speaker to have in the kitchen area because it's got great sound quality for a small speaker and faster response times from Google Assistant that's discernable over the sizzle of the stove.

Alternatively, the Amazon Echo Dot (third-generation) might perform better in the common areas where homework is done since the speaker delivers noticeably low-quality audio playback (though is much improved over previous generations of Echo Dot speakers).

A video-enabled smart display like Amazon’s Echo Show 8 or Google’s Nest Hub Max should be placed where it will get the most use and be accessible to anyone who wants to use the video calling feature, stream content from YouTube TV and Prime Video, watch recipe videos, and more. We think either smart display works best in the kitchen.

On the other hand, a larger speaker like the Google Home Max is better suited for big spaces like the living room or playroom where dancing and grooving take place, since it’s got a big sound.

Keep it maintained

The best way to live peacefully with both Google Assistant and Alexa under one roof is to keep track of what you’re setting up as you’re doing it. IFTTT is great for setting up straightforward smart home automation, but they can complicate things further if you have too many formulas set up that effectively perform the same action.

As with any smart home, if you have a ton of connected stuff set up inside your dwellings, make sure to keep everything updated so that all of your assistants maintain a level playing field.

Learn more about everything that works with Amazon Alexa and everything that works with Google Assistant.

Is one better than the other at helping you bake?

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