Image Credit: Xavier Harding

Where Amazon created a personal assistant that looks more like a computer accessory than a home appliance, Google has clearly tried to make its competing product fit in with less high-tech objects: Home looks like a jar hooked up with an air-freshener and had a really smart (maybe even too smart) baby. The Google Home curves and slants in all the right places, allowing it to better blend with the other items on your desk or countertop. The emphasis on aesthetics extends to the base, which is easily swappable and comes in six colors (some bright mesh, and some in stately metals). Hitting the microphone mute button even reveals an almost candle-like set of yellow lights – much more pleasing to the eye than Amazon's harsh red ring.

Home provides a house for Google's aptly-named Google Assistant. Introduced alongside the company's chat app Allo, the Assistant received an encore with the release of Google's Pixel. But what exactly can it do?

Amazon and Google's virtual, voice-only assistants both allow you to carry out simple tasks. Asking questions like "who is Barack Obama?" or "how many cups are in a quart?" will offer up variations of the same answer. You can ask it to provide all sorts of information – the results of mathematic equations, the weather, or the latest headlines informed by your personal news settings. Every question you've asked can be revisited in the Google Home or Amazon Alexa app, even allowing you to play audio of your query so you can hear how the device hears you. These responses are stored in the cloud, which, depending on how paranoid you are, is unnerving. Equally unsettling: you're actually handing over money to Google (or Amazon) to have an always-listening microphone in your home. So there's that.

But when it comes to simple answers to random questions, Google Home completely blows Amazon out of the water. That's because Assistant utilizes Google's knowledge graph. If you've searched Google recently, you've noticed that answers to common queries have already been added to Google's base of knowledge, appearing in the fact sheet Google puts to the right side or even above the first search result. So questions like "how much is the Google Pixel?" or "how tall is Pikachu?" result in usable answers from Google Home and very little from Amazon Echo. One foot, four inches, if you're wondering.

For now, neither assistant will help you send a text or place a phone call, but that functionality is "a feature the team is working on" for Home, Google tells Popular Science.