Google Home or Amazon Echo?


#1

So, Black Friday deals are on and I think it is time to get myself a new home assistant.
What do you guys suggest? Google Home? Amazon Echo?
Which works best with OSMC / Kodi?


#2

Why would you voluntarily install a permanently activated surveillance device in your home? Isn’t it enough that they can track your every move on the net and follow your whereabouts on your mobile phone? I’m not sure I want my every utterance beamed back to Google or Amazon HQ (and heaven knows who else) for ‘analysis’ by their respective marketing departments …


#3

Indeed. It looks like they can be / have been used in criminal proceedings as well:

I think voice control can be acceptable; and can make sense for searching instead of typing using an on-screen keyboard. However the voice processing should only occur when a user manually initiates it with a button press and are aware that what they are saying is being sent to a remote server.

I’m also not sure how much value they bring. We are not tied to the Amazon or Google ecosystems here, so I am unsure if there would be any benefit from such a device.


#4

+1
And I’m also hopeful that Sam can add in the future other pieces to the Vero4 box for a better Mediacenter.

  • add sound
  • certificated TV

Sam can do …, but basically he need that you and me buy the Vero Box.
“Power to (from) the people” or user.
Michael


#5

First thanks for the replies.

Yea, I am aware that they can listen to anything I am saying and use it for commercial purposes and even worse.
But still, I think that voice control is awesome and can be very useful.
Anyway, thought some of you here might have used one of these so thought asking, but I guess that it’s not the best place for this question :stuck_out_tongue:

BTW, I already own Vero 4k.


#6

Both work equally bad with Kodi (read: they don’t) as Kodi does not have support for voice control. Though they will support it for the next Version on Android as it is already part of the OS. But only there of course and only if the device itself has it built in.

So you need to build something yourself anyway. With some work you can integrate both. But not out of the box. There are some projects out on github to get you started on both - not very well developed though.

It works like this “OK Google, tell Kodi to play movie” / “OK Google, play movie on Kodi”.
Same deal on the Echo, but you use Alexa instead of OK Google.

With some more work you could leverage the AV API and get rid of the invocation keyword on the Echo, but no one has published something you can just plug in. It’s a bit of work - have not finished it on my end because lack of time. And doing that might be totally out of your comfort zone. And I mean it…

I tried both Google’s and Amazon’s device;

Short summary: Google is better at answering questions wheras on the Echo you need to be way more specific. The Echo is better at controlling smart devices and has more “apps” offerings.

Google Home is just fugly. The small one is acceptable though. Echo more industrial.

Regardless the normal or the small version: the speakers are crap. Cheapest Chinese stuff you find in cheap Bluetooth speakers.

Google ties in better with Google stuff. Amazon ties in better with Amazon stuff.

In the end I settled on the dot and get two more today to set them up as intercoms at home.

For Kodi they are basically useless. You can get the job done, but it’s more of a gimmick in the end…

Google is easier to setup and customize.

As every “always on” voice assistant there are privacy issues naturally. But I setup my dot that it requires to be touched before activating.

If you are unsure: Get the small version of each on Black Friday and try it out. They are dirt cheap today.

If you think about using them as Bluetooth Speakers: Don’t. They suck. Better connect the small versions to some decent speakers…


#7

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=PeQM7Mw6VwI

I’m using Google Assistant SDK in my home-brew home automation system (based on Rasp Pi with OSMC SD card).
Voice control is handy instead of fiddling around with the onscreen keyboard/UI. In the kitchen we can
shout “hey google, set a timer for 20 minutes”. It can help with the kids’ homework
(“hey google, what’s a parallelogram”), and also sing songs (“hey google, sing Happy Birthday”).

But really it’s just a bit of a novelty. For OSMC, it would be a bit awkward saying “play TV show stranger things, season 1 episode 3”. If you don’t get it exactly right, you’ll either get the wrong episode, the wrong program, or else nothing at all.
In this use-case, the remote control is better.

But, at this stage it’s just a novelty. Personally I think voice control is only good when you need a handsfree option.
If you don’t need it, then it’s not really useful.

Thanks.
Best regards,
Niall.


#8

Thanks a lot @anbodearg and @TwentyWasHere for those detailed replies.
I ordered one from each (Google Home Mini / Amazon Echo Dot). I will check them both and see what I like more. Yea, I get that it will probably be more a gimmick and something to play with then a real useful thing.
Thanks again.


#10

I’ve successfully configured Alexa to run with Kodi / OSMC. What can be a problem is that the voice recognition gets more difficult because Kodi is playing instead of Alexa.

In my case, Kodi is connected to a receiver and when you say Alexa the music (obviously) doesn’t get muted as would be the case when Alexa is playing the music. It already happened a couple of times that the music made it difficult to get Alexa to recognize your command.


#11

I’ve got a few Google Home Mini around the condo (so that one can always hear me in case the sound playing from my receiver is loud) and I’m quite happy with the integration. The Google Home is connected with my Logitech Harmony, so I can ask it to turn on TV, turn on 4K (which is a shortcut for my Vero 4K) and so on. It can pause/resume my movies playing on the Vero 4K, can turn volume up and down, etc. It can be quite useful in some circumstances, instead of having to reach out to the Harmony remote.

I recently installed smart dimmers and I can turn off all of my recessed LED lights or each set of lights separately by voice. For me this is more than just a gimmick as for example I got lights on the mezzanine upstairs that would require a small trip up the stairs to turn off or on.

I would love if I could tell Google Home to tell Kodi to play the next episode of Stranger Things, based on already watched status, but I guess we’re very far from this happening without having to hack a little bit.


#12

I’ve got that going with Alexa but it means exposing your Kodi to the AWS so Alexa API can make calls to the device.


#13

Yes that’s what I meant when I said “hacking a little bit”. I really want my A/V system to be integrated with official plugins from either Google or Logitech.


#14

Anybody try installing/compiling google assistant SDK on Vero4k…? I have it running on a RPi3, but I’d like to move it over to Vero4k


#15

Not aware of anyone that’s tried, but it should work fine.


#16

thanks Sam. It looks like it runs in a Python env, so I think what works on Pi should work on the Vero 4K also. I’ll send an update if/when I get it working.


#17

Yes – that should work just fine.

Sam


#18

Hi, just to try help. Maybe integration of google assistantd would be perfect but at the moment, and still without Vero 4k (waiting for 1 month, ordered when no stock, waiting for shipment atm) I was able to work with Google Home on my actual HTPC with Kodi using Google Home + Android with Autovoice and Yatse. At the moment only working on english and french, but worked nice asking to play a movie.

Ok Google, ask autovoice to play movie Ironman 2…

It sends autovoice the text “to play movie Ironman 2”, there you have some setup to take Ironman 2 as a variable, and it uses Yatse to send the command to Kodi.

I asked recently to Yatse developer to include spanish voice commands hehe.

The url is: http://forum.joaoapps.com/index.php?resources/control-kodi-the-easy-way-with-autovoice-and-yatse.317/

I am not related anyway with that guy, I got a GH Mini 2 weeks ago and I’m playing with it.

There is also another way to control it using a web server, IFFT and google home, but I haven’t tested it as I didn’t want to setup a web server (I think i read somewhere someone installed the web server on a Vero 4k): https://github.com/OmerTu/GoogleHomeKodi

Edit: I think both systems allow asking to play a determinated movie, tv show, play last episode, and some other commands


#19

ok, so I eventually tried setting up Google Assistant on Vero 4K …

It works, but not with hands-free wake-word (eg ‘Hey Google’).
For voice recognition, you need to press ENTER first, and then ask your question.
That’s a deal-breaker for me.

The Google Assistant Library has the hands-free feature, but that only works on a few specific platforms (eg Rasp Pi). For other platforms (eg Vero 4K) only Google Assistant Service is available.

See table below from Google Assistant SDK website.

From looking at the documentation, I think the Amazon Alexa SDK could be compiled/built for Vero 4K to include wake-word aswell. I might try that sometime.

Thanks.
Best regards,
Niall.

The following table summarizes the platform compatibility requirements and the supported features for the Google Assistant Library and the Google Assistant Service:

Library Service
Supported architectures linux-armv7l and linux-x86_64 All gRPC platforms
Supported languages Python All gRPC languages
Hands-free activation
( Ok Google ) Yes No
Audio capture and playback Built in Reference code is provided
Conversation state management Built in Reference code is provided
Timers and alarms Yes No
Playback of podcasts and news Yes No
Broadcast voice messages Yes No
Visual output (HTML5) of Assistant responses No Yes

#20

There’s always voice.osmc.tv (BETA).
On a Linux machine:

arecord -f cd /tmp/test.wav
curl --request POST --data-binary "@/tmp/test.wav" http://voice.osmc.tv

It will get better. I promise.


#21

What does this do Sam?..any documentation available?