Technology 3 min read

The Google Home Feature That Amazon's Alexa Doesn't Have

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To monetize local queries, Google partnered with retail stores and announced that Google Home users are now able to shop using Google Assistant, a functionality that Amazon’s Alexa doesn’t have.

Two large tech companies, Google and Amazon, both launched their versions of AI assistants in the last few years. According to CIRP and a number of tech reviewers, the Amazon Echo has outperformed the competition so far.

Google has added an online shopping feature to Google Assistant via Home.Click To Tweet


Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa may not be as advanced as a Sci-Fi imagining (it won’t argue you out of a bad relationship), rather these AIs offer a kind of versatile search engine for a smart and connected home. Both AI systems, Assistant, and Alexa, are integrated into two voice-controlled speakers, Home and Echo, respectively, to answer the user’s questions.

Google Assistant One-ups Amazon Alexa

After lagging behind in terms of consumer perception, Google Assistant has just taken a step ahead of Alexa in terms of online shopping–one area Amazon knows well.

At the Shoptalk e-commerce event (March 19-22, Las Vegas), Google reannounced the integration of a new feature into its smart assistant that enables Google Home owners to make purchases online by voice.

It’s worth noting that Amazon Echo, which hit the market about a year before Google Home, does have a similar feature: Alexa users can also shop, but only via the Amazon website.

Although not as rich a catalog as Amazon’s, Google makes orders pass through its Google Express platform, then from there to dozens of local stores. With billions of queries passing through Google, Home could be a force in the online shopping industry.

OK, Google Home, Order an Organic Meal

Purchases made on Google Express may be subject to service and shipping fees. Exceptionally, these fees will be waived for orders placed via Google Home. Through April 30, 2017, Google offers a trial period with free delivery (no shipping and membership fees) on orders that meet certain conditions.


However, the products purchased will be limited to what the catalog of stores, and then the presence of the latter in a given region. Not all the stores listed are available in any single region–that depends on the user’s address.

For now, retailers that have already joined Google Express include Target, Costco, Walgreens, Bed Bath and Beyond, Whole Foods, PetSmart and over 50 other national and local brands and delivery companies. To make orders, the user has just to enter your ZIP code to find available local stores, set your payment method and delivery address, then just say the words–with the possibility of same-day, overnight or 2-day delivery.

Over the coming months, Google Express will add more new features and enable shopping for other products and services as well. Now we can shop at home and without moving our hands.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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  1. Jack Smith April 05 at 11:17 am GMT

    Have both the Echo since launch and now have several Google Homes (GH). They are very different. The GH is intelligent and you talk to it like a human. There are NO commands with the GH.

    The Echo you have commands that you memorize. So for music you have a command of “song goes like …”. The GH just say it anyway you want and it figures it out. So say play “gwen sting bottle” and you get Gwen and Sting singing Message in a bottle.

    What I find most incredible about the GH is the human feel. Start asking for something and long pause and she saids “yes” with perfect inflection. I then say “I forgot” and she said “no worries happens to me all the time”. Then another time same thing and said “nevermind” and she said “yes let’s move forward.”

    Some compare the GH to a GUI and the Echo a command line.

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