Hi, friends! I’ve been busy testing the Rachio 3 smart sprinkler and pitching away for summertime work but wanted to take a break to finally dive into some of those questions you’ve been sending in through the contact form. I do read your questions! And I’ve been filing them away to try to turn them into helpful little articles like this one.
Hello! I have an Echo Dot and use it (among other things) to control my Wemo smart outlets. I’m thinking of getting a Google Home for the 2nd floor.
Can multiple smart speakers share control of the same Wemo devices? I’d love to have both a Google Home and an Echo and be able to speak to either to control the same set of Wemo (or another manufacturer’s) devices.
Hello! I have great news for you. You can use both of your Amazon Echo and Google Assistant speakers to control the different smart things in your home, including the Belkin Wemo accessories. Since Amazon and Google are two different platforms, it’s up to you to program which services work with which devices.
It gets tricky if the smart speakers are near one another, however, as you could accidentally trigger both to respond at the same time regardless if you’re using different wake commands. (You saw what happened with Alexa awhile back.) My suggestion is to keep them in different parts of the house to learn their differences and decide on which smart speaker you prefer more. In my testing, I found that while the Google Assistant is more conversational, Alexa is better at understanding basic commands. So, the Google speakers are placed in the common areas to interact with everyone, while the Echo Dot is in my office purely for testing basic smart home commands.
I’m looking for a speaker that has either Google Assistant or Chromecast audio built in, in the $100-$250 range.
Great! As a person who has configured her entire house with the Google Assistant/Chromecast ecosystem, I can say with certainty that you won’t be disappointed! You’ll undoubtedly be annoyed at times, like when casting isn’t working with your TV and the Assistant doesn’t understand what you’re commanding, but when it works well it’s incredibly satisfying. Even more so if you’re an Android user!
The best Google Assistant speaker is still old faithful—the Google Home, which retails for $100 (down from $130). It initially launched at the end of 2016, but it’s still one of the best, bassiest smart speakers I’ve listened to (not counting the Google Home Max, which is a whopping $399). If you go that route, you still have some cash leftover for a $35 Chromecast dongle, which you can plug into the nearest TV and use with voice commands. And there are some cool gadgets for it, like a battery pack that lets you take it around the house, and colorful decals to help the device match your living room aesthetic.
If you’re not too keen on buying directly from Google, you can also look at some of the third-party speakers offered around retail town. JBL offers a family of Google Assistant speakers, some of which are waterproof and battery-powered, like the Link 20. I haven’t tried any of the other third-party speakers on the market besides JBL’s, but you can view a list of some of the brand offerings here.
Got a question? Need an answer? Contact me.