While televisions -- it has plenty of catching-up to do with Amazon Echo ($185.99 at Overstock.com)'s Alexa. Google is always adding new features to Home, so that list continues to shrink, but there are still seven things we wish it could do.-- like contextual conversations or throwing images and videos to your
One technical note: Throughout this piece, Google Assistant is often compared to Amazon Alexa, as those are the voice-assistance technologies within these devices. Just remember that the way Google Assistant works on Google Home ($129.00 at Crate and Barrel) is much more limited than .
Update, Jan. 8: Originally published Oct. 12, 2016, this article has been updated multiple times to include new Alexa features. Some items have been removed to reflect new Google Home features. Previously included in this list were Alexa skills, voice shopping, multiple designs, DIY Alexa and official iHeartRadio support.
Since you can order items using Alexa, it only makes sense that you can track orders placed through Amazon with Alexa, as well. All you have to say is, "Alexa, where's my stuff?" She won't give you a ton of details, like where the package currently is or the status of the shipment, but she will tell you the day it's estimated to arrive.
Seeing as this is a feature already integrated into Google Assistant on phones, it's likely only a matter of time before Google Home can also track orders placed with practically any online retailer. But there is no mention of package tracking in the long list of features of Google Home.
If you ask Google Home to track your package today, she'll just say, "I can't do that yet." Yet!
In that vein, while Google Home does now support notifications for reminders and calls, it can't tell you when something you've ordered is out for delivery.. And it's not limited to packages from Amazon. You can also enable notifications for Domino's pizza delivery status.
Amazon Music and Prime Music
The music and radio services officially supported by Google Home at launch were Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora and TuneIn. Support for iHeartRadio was rolled out at the end of February.
With Amazon's Alexa speakers, you get support for the same music services, save for Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Instead, you get support for Amazon's in-house streaming services, Amazon Music and Prime Music.
Despite not officially supporting Amazon Music or Prime Music -- which isn't all that surprising given they are competitors -- you can stream almost any audio to Google Home by casting from a phone or tablet. The Amazon Music app does not support Chromecast, however, so you can't stream audio from the app to Google Home using an iOS device. However, there is a workaround for Android devices. Begin playing music from within the Amazon Music app, pull down the notification shade, tap the Cast logo, and select your Google Home from the list to stream the audio through the speaker.
Read books out loud
One of Alexa's greatest features is the ability to play audiobooks from Audible or read your Kindle books, simply by asking. Say, "Alexa, play 'A Walk in the Woods'," or, "Alexa, read 'Ready Player One.'"
Google Home doesn't come with any official support for playing audiobooks or reading e-books (not surprising considering the companies are competitors), which is unfortunate and surprising, especially considering thein Google Play Books.
Of course, while you can't queue up an audiobook or have Google Home read an e-book with a voice command, you can use the same workaround mentioned above to stream the audio through the Google Home speaker. Play the audiobook or select Read Aloud in the Google Play Books app, pull down the notification shade, tap the Cast icon and select your Google Home speaker to begin streaming the audio. Still, this doesn't work with Kindle books. You will have had to have purchased the book from Google to stream the Read Aloud feature to Google Home, which might fragment your digital library.
If you just want to be able to control your Echo from out of typical voice range, all you need is an Alexa Voice Remote for $30 (not available in the UK or Australia).
To accomplish the same thing with Google Home, you will need to add a second Google Home for $129, £129 or AU$199 a pop.
Amazon lets developers harness the power of Alexa within applications, such as Roger and Ubi. One developer created an online tool -- -- so developers can test their skills without needing to own the hardware. As a plus, now anyone can take Alexa for a test drive in their browser.
Aside from streaming audio, these virtual versions of Alexa work exactly the same as the official devices from Amazon, meaning you can get the full effect of Alexa before ever having to spend a dime on Amazon's speakers. For now, the best way to test Google Home is by using Google Assistant on a compatible Android phone.
Show you things
One major addition to the Alexa speaker lineup in 2017 were displays. With theand , instead of just spitting out answers, Alexa speakers can now show you results.
You can see things like weather, lyrics for some songs that are playing and much more. You can use the Google Home to send music, videos and pictures to a nearby Chromecast-enabled TV or queue up Google Assistant on your phone to see visual responses, but it's just not the same as having an integrated screen.
: The complete list of Assistant commands so far.
: The complete list of Alexa commands so far.