Amazon Echo and Google Home

Anyone have either of these? I saw that Amazon had trouble keeping up with demand for Echo in December. Are these things actually useful, or are they just tech geek trophies?

I cannot think of anything that this would do that you cannot do with your phone or computer in 30 seconds. So maybe I am so lazy that I need a robot to look up whale sounds for me? Um ok. Also, I am not sure that I trust a machine to “order cat food” or whatever that advertisement says it does. It’s enough that my wife has access to all the credit cards, amiright?

I received an echo dot from work:

Useful Functions:

(1) Play music (artist, genre, playlist…etc)

(2) Set Timers

(3) Converting Measurements

(4) Listening to my daily morning news brief while making breakfast/coffee in the morning

Unfortunately I don’t own the integrated smart home products (I use C by GE for lightbulbs and Lyric GE thermostat) so there is no integration in the smart home I’ve set up.

Inlaws got one. My wife had to drive 60 miles to locate one. I can see it being useful if fully integrated with ‘smart home’ products but in general it seems like a novelty at this iteration. It is potentially one hell of a government tool for invasion of privacy. Apparently it is alwys listening and there was a news story about a PD seeking a warrant for the data/recordings it collected in a case.

i have echo and dot. useful to play music.

echo - you can just yell stuff at it. i use it in the living room where i work out and nap.

dot - its connected to my speaker. i use it in the bedroom.

but heres some news about it though.

I love my echo. I have it hooked up to a Nest thermostat and to my Hue lights. I use it to control the lights and temperature, for information and for ordering things. also you can connect it to many skills such as spotify and i can tell it to play music. I also use IFTTT and location to send myself reminders. To me, its all about making life simpler to focus on what’s important.

I control my thermostat with my finger.

Got an Echo for xmas. So far all I do is use it to play music. My son loves it. He has Alexa tell him jokes all day long.

I got an Echo and a few smart home devices. I can control a couple of lamps, my tv, sonos and oven with voice control. I’m trying to incorporate it into everyday use and make the most of it.

Will see how i get on over the next few months.

The best thing I have done so far is set up ‘routines’ using the yonomi app. Essentially I can say, ‘Alexa turn on party atmosphere’ and it will switch on a predefined playlist on my sonos speakers, turn some lights down, switch some other lights to random colours and make it party time!!

There are lots of different ‘routines’ you can set up when you have more smart devices… i.e. wake up routine could be to start the kettle, open the blinds and switch on bbc news. turn on ‘watch movie’ could turn off all devices except 1 light and then switch to kodi on ur tv.

U just need the devices to be able to do it… which i’m going to add.


I have the Echo and love it – it’s great for answering random questions, adjusting music and temperature, and most importantly the device is a great speaker system. I would say it’s competitive with most portable desktop speakers I have tried. Alexa has expanded its learning algorithm significantly since it was first launched and it’ll only be a matter of time before it serves broader practical purposes. But definitely I would say the speaker quality itself is worth it - I believe it’s currently a “loss leader” for Amazon with negative gross margins.

I got Google Home. I looked into Echo API and how to develop App for it, and was not impressed. I don’t believe Amazon can compete on AI front with Google, it is not even in the same league. Eventually, if google is not stupid, they can completely dominate Personal assitant AI market

I have the Echo downstairs and an Echo dot upstairs. They are connected to my thermostats, sprinkler system and driveway lights. The Echo is used mostly for music and getting news updates. The dot is mainly used as an alarm clock at the moment. They are also great for getting answers to random questions like measurements, word meaning, etc. The Echo doesn’t understand my 4 year old son very well. He asked an innocuous question that the Echo interpreted as “How do you spell penis”…