Voice controls are a near-essential part of any smart home, but it pales in comparison to automation. A smart home anticipates and does stuff for you is more convenient in the long run. That’s why it’s exciting to see Google Assistant pick up scheduling actions for turning on and off smart lights, and yet disappointing that it’s still so far behind Alexa’s routines.
As reported by Android Police, you can now speak the Google wake words and then say, “turn on the lights at 5:45 PM.” You can even specify a duration to keep the light on, such as “turn on the living room lights for five minutes.”
After the five minutes, your lights will turn off, which is pretty handy. And if you prefer, you can specify sunset and sunrise instead of specific times. Google Assistant will let you know what time that works out to in your area.
That’s a nice improvement over the previous situation where your only choice was an immediate one—turn on the lights right now. Voice commands continue to be Google Assistant’s strong suit, edging out Alexa when it comes to complexity, accuracy, and knowledge searches.
But Alexa outshines Google Assistant in automation by far, thanks to its super routines. On Google Assistant, routines essentially simplify voice commands. You can create a single command to do multiple things. You can also set simple schedules, but that’s it.
Over on Alexa, routines don’t require voice as a trigger. You can use time, location, alarms, voice commands, or even smart home actions (like a sensor detecting motion or a smart lock unlocking) to trigger a routine.
And you can combine those triggers with the time of the day. That means rather than just turn the lights because it’s dark, you can turn on the lights because it’s dark and you walked in the room.
Currently, Google’s scheduling is confined to a single day. Asking Google Assistant to “turn off the light at 5 PM tomorrow,” but asking for the same thing at “5 PM every day” doesn’t work. You can create a repeating schedule (weekdays, weekends, every day, etc.) with Alexa routines.
It’s good to see Google doing more with automation, but hopefully, it’ll improve its options to rely so heavily on voice commands in the future.
via Android Police