4 things Google Home can do to beat Amazon Echo in 2017 – CNET

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Right now, the Amazon Echo has a stranglehold on the voice assistant market. Although Amazon won’t release numbers on its sales, estimates indicate that Echo is quickly approaching 10 million units sold. For Google Home — just released in November 2016, some two years after the Echo — Amazon’s dominance seems insurmountable.

A recent VoiceLabs survey, however, indicates the Echo’s lead might not be quite so definitive as it seems. Plus, Google has a couple important tricks up its sleeve. Here’s how the Google Home could beat the Amazon Echo in 2017.

oiceLabs asked people who owned neither a Home nor an Echo which they preferred: The respondents were split about 50-50. While VoiceLabs didn’t ask to what degree they preferred each device, the split indicates Amazon’s two-year head start isn’t necessarily translating into higher awareness or preference in the overall population.

Google’s competitive presence despite its newcomer status is likely due to the brand’s ubiquity. While Amazon has 244 million active users (people who have made purchases in the past 12 months) in around 15 countries, Google boasts over 1.4 billion Android phone users, 1 billion Gmail users, and likely as many or more Google search users all over the world. Although those numbers certainly overlap to an extent, the fact remains that the Mountain View tech giant is a fixture in more people’s lives, and its services seem to keep them coming back for more.

Conversely, the 50-50 split reflects Amazon’s inability to establish its particular device, the Echo, as uniquely compelling. Before Echo fans grab their pitchforks, I’m not saying the Echo hasn’t demonstrated the value of voice-controlled smart speakers to a wider consumer base — it has, and with panache. But the nonuser population doesn’t seem to see the Echo’s unique value over and above the Home’s — which is surprising, considering the Echo’s two-year, unchallenged reign.

But whatever the reason, as many consumers seem interested in Google’s Home as in Amazon’s Echo. Sure, Google probably won’t make up the difference in total units sold for a few years, but here’s how it might bring in more unit sales than Amazon in 2017.

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