Google Home, the company’s new voice-controlled interface to the internet, is hardly the first to appear on the consumer market. But it may be the best — although “best” may not yet be good enough.
Amazon’s Echo, introduced in late 2015, was, of course, the initial entry, although it started as a gimmick with very limited ability. You could ask it a question (“Alexa, what’s it like outside?”) and get an answer (“It’s 64 degrees and sunny. There’s a chance of rain later tonight.”). You could build a wish list, or order stuff, or play music. More recently, with the help of third-party extensions, it’s become, well, a little bit less of a gimmick with slightly greater abilities.
In the end, though, any voice control system is ultimately only as good as the ecosystem behind it. By that metric alone, Google Home wins.