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Is Google Home Good For The Elderly? (Is It Better Than Amazon Echo?)

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The Google Home product is another voice activated daily assistance device that, just like Alexa, can provide many different “services” to senior citizens. There are many similarities and some differences.

But the question I’m answering here will be…

Is Google Home Good For Seniors?

Google home is a very good voice assistant device for seniors but Amazon’s Alexa has more skills. Both Google Home and Alexa devices provide skills such as reminders, routines, ability to make phone calls, weather and news and access to 911 and so much more. But Alexa has over 100,000 skills vs Google’s 80,000 skills.

The Google Home and Amazon Echo harness a lot of potential as useful tools for seniors. Given some care and effort, a voice assistant can become a highly versatile companion.

American Foundation For The Blind

Can Google Home Help In An Emergency?

One of the most important features of any voice assistant for seniors is the ability to contact 911 for an emergency call.

Google home can call 911 but you need an additional external device to do that – it’s called Ooma Telo.   This allows the Google home user to call 911 simply by asking their Google home device to do so.

Did you know that Amazon’s Echo devices can pair with some Google Nest video doorbells (read about that here)? Video doorbells help you stay safer because you can see who is at the door and can respond without opening the door to a stranger.

Best Google Home Voice Assistant Services For Seniors


A great feature for anyone (but especially for seniors) is setting up Google Home to notify and remind you of events on your calendar or just daily events such as medication reminders, when a TV show is on, doctor’s appointments, etc.

This feature works well for adults who are dealing with some cognitive decline issues such as mild dementia.


How To Use Google Home For Reminders and Notifications

  • If you’ve scheduled a reminder for a specific time then it will just automatically alert you at that time.
  • Otherwise, you can simply ask “Ok Google, what’s up?” or “Ok Google, what are my reminders?”

Note: Alexa’s reminder will start with something like “I’m reminding you to take your heart medication.” BUT – Google Home will only alert you that there’s a reminder but not state exactly what that reminder is. You have to follow up by asking “What is my reminder?”

How To Set Up Google Home For Reminders and Notifications

  • To set up reminders simply say “Hey Google, remind me to take my medicine every day at 2 pm.”


I love the routines feature on both devices. Essentially, this allows you to set up a series of events that are triggered by one command.

An evening command that I have set up on my Google Home goes like this…

1) I say “Hey Google, good night”
2) She responds by telling me what the weather will be tomorrow, what I have on my calendar tomorrow and then plays the sound of white noise (which is what I use to help me to sleep).

Check out this video on other ways that you can use Google Home routines to make life just a little easier!

Ordering Food

Although you can order food from a Google Home devices, it’s not as easy as it is on Amazon’s Alexa.  You have to use a 3rd party program like FoodMonkey or if a restaurant like Domino’s Pizza has partnered with Google Home.

Ordering an Uber

Yes, you can ask your Google Home device to order and Uber ride but you can’t complete the process on Google Home. Instead, it sends the information to your phone to complete the transaction.

Reminders To Remember Things

Basically, you can store information in your Google Home, which is pretty cool. So, you can say things like…

  • “OK, Google, remember that I put my passport in the filing cabinet” or “Remember that my password is ‘money’.”
  • Recall remembered things: “OK, Google, where is my passport?” or “What is my password?”

Phone Calls

You can make phone calls on Google Home to any phone number in the USA, Canada and Mexico – which is very much like having a voice activated speaker phone at your disposal.

And like Alexa, as long as you have the person you want to call on your Google Contacts list then you can simply say… “Hey Google, call John Smith.” She may ask you which phone number (if you have multiple phone numbers listed) but once that decision is made the call will go through.

911 Emergency Calls

And again, like Alexa, you can also call 911 but you need an external product to do that. For Google, it’s the Ooma Telo. Once it’s all set up you simply say…

“Hey Google, ask Ooma to call 911.”

You do need to know that there is a service cost for the Ooma service, it’s very small, less than $10.00 a month as of 2019.

Ask My Buddy

just like Alexa, the Google Home device can be set up to use the Ask My Buddy system. It’s a great feature for seniors. It gives your voice activated device the ability to set up someone as your “buddy” so that in case you need help you can ask Google Home to contact them immediately. This can alert several people that you assign to the Ask My Buddy program.

The Ask My Buddy program is free for if you register 5 contacts or less on your list and if you use it 10 times or less in a 30 day period.

Once you register – you can then set it up on your Google Home app. Click here for the PDF on how to set it up for Google Home.

Home Security

Although Google Home is not a security device per se – it can be used as one when it’s paired with Google Nest devices such as the Nest doorbell, Nest Detect and the Nest Secure Alarm System.

Google Home vs. Alexa For Seniors

1. Appearances

Google HomeAlexa
Comes in a variety of colors and styles.Has 5 color versions of it’s Amazon Echo
Google Home 5.62 inches tallAmazon Echo is 5.9 inches tall
Google Home Mini is round and is 1.65 inches tallAmazon Echo plus is 9.3 inches tall
Google Home Max is rectangular and about 7.4 inches tallAmazon Echo Dot is round and is 1.3 inches tall
Google Nest Hub has a 7 inch visual displayAmazon Echo Spot is round with a 2.5 inch visual display
Google Next Hub Max has a 10 inch visual displayAmazon Echo Show is rectangular with a 7.4 inch visual display
Amazon Echo Buttons can control routines and trigger voice responses

2. Functions

Google HomeAlexa
Can shop online from Google ExpressCan shop, track packages and get notifications of deliveries from Amazon
Can listen to music on GoogleCan listen to music from Amazon Music
Google Home Mini is round and is 1.65 inches tallAmazon Echo plus is 9.3 inches tall
Google Home Max is rectangular and about 7.4 inches tallAmazon Echo Dot is round and is 1.3 inches tall
Google Nest Hub has a 7 inch visual displayAmazon Echo Spot is round with a 2.5 inch visual display
Google Next Hub Max has a 10 inch visual displayAmazon Echo Show is rectangular with a 7.4 inch visual display
Set a timer or series of timers.Amazon Echo can also set a timer or series of timers.

Alexa vs. Google Nest Mini: Which Is Better?

There are some differences between the Google Nest Mini and Alexa. Choosing which one to use really just depends on what you want in your smart device.

So, let’s go over some the specifics of each one of these units.

Price: Both are about the same price, depending on where you purchase it and if it’s on sale or not.

Sound: Echo Dot as an advanced Bluetooth audio support, voice control as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. Whereas the Google Next Mini has a 1.57 inch speaker, no audio jack. In our opinion, the Amazon Alexa device has a better sound.

Weight: The Alexa device is about 12 ounces and the Google Nest Mini weighs less at 6.4 ounces. Since neither is meant to be carried around, we don’t think it really matters what they weight.

Volume Control: Both have manual touch controls for volume.

Microphone: Alexa dot has 4 far-field microphone array and the Google Nest Mini has 3 far-field microphones. Basically, Alexa can hear you better.

Ease of use: Both are very easy to use and to set up. Most of the process can be done via voice commands.

So, in conclusion, we think the Amazon Alexa is a better device for seniors. It’s easier to hear, has more features, and is generally more user-friendly.

Does Google Home Have Drop Ins?

Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) device has a feature called Drop In which allows the user call another Alexa device as an audio and/or visual (sort of like Skype). This can be calls to friends and family or even a call to another Alexa device within your own home (like an intercom system!).

Although both Google Home and Alexa have phone call features – the Google Home product does not have this Drop In feature.

The One Advantage Google Home Has Over Amazon’s Alexa

I personally own a Google Home device and an Amazon Echo Dot device. I use them each and every single day for a variety of purposes.

They both do many of the same things but the one single advantage that I see that Google Home has over Amazon’s Alexa is that Google Home is connected to the Google search engine.

Which means that when I ask Alexa a question – it doesn’t always have an answer or the right answer. In fact, I would say that about 25% of the time, it can’t give me the answer I’m looking for.

But when I ask Google Home the very same question – I get an answer 99.9% of the time and I would say that 95% of the time it’s exactly the answer I’m searching for.

The reason for this is because Amazon’s Alexa uses the Bing search engine whereas Google Home, of course, uses the ever so mighty Google search engine. And we all know, that Google’s database of information is much larger than any other search engine. And their technology is much more sophisticated which means they are able to give you the best answers to your questions possible.

So, if you will be using this voice device for answers to questions (which would be great for homework or research, etc.) then I would say to choose the Google Home product.

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