Alexa has become the go-to when it comes to smart home speakers. She’s pretty smart, but have you ever wondered what search engine she’s using to access this trove of information?
It’s pretty obvious when you purchase a Google Home device, that it’s going to be using Google’s search engine to answer all your questions. But, with Alexa being a large competitor of Google in certain spaces, it’s safe to assume that they aren’t going to play well together.
That being said, this brings us to the question. If Alexa isn’t using Google, then where does she get her information? Which search engine is she using?
Alexa’s Search Engine
Alexa utilizes Bing’s search engine for all of her search queries. There isn’t an Amazon approved way of searching with Google on Alexa supported devices as of the writing of this article. Microsoft’s Cortana also uses Bing when answering your questions. Google Home and Siri use Google for the most part, although Siri does utilize Bing for some queries.
Believe it or not, Bing now accounts for 1/3rd of all searches, which is pretty surprising. But, when you think about it, Microsoft and Amazon use Bing as default search engines for all their devices. This all adds up in addition to mobile and desktop Bing searchers.
Let’s talk a little about having other search options with Alexa…
Can I Use Alexa to Search Google?
When you look overall at deciding which smart home controller to go for, most people seem to sway toward Amazon Echo because of all the great things Alexa can do. But, are you able to use search Google with Alexa?
Well, Google isn’t directly available with any Amazon approved Alexa skills. There is, however, a way to search Google with Alexa if you use a workaround skill by a third party. Once set up, you can use the Google Assistant Skill to search Google on your Alexa device.
One really cool feature that Alexa has is that you can program custom skills and voice commands. This feature has allowed 3rd party programmers to create one that allows you to say “Alexa, Ask Google”. Unfortunately, this skill is not officially acknowledged by Amazon (or Google for that matter) and it will take some work to set it up.
A user named Tartanguru released the unofficial skill that you can find here. Older versions of this skill allowed Alexa to read the first result on Google. A page reader would just read the first text box. This version is much better. It uses Google Assistant’s API, so it can do a lot more than just read text boxes.
This skill is not only extremely useful, but it’s also free to use, although you do need your credit card info to download it. This is because you have to make an Amazon developer account, which requires your credit card info.
Once you have made the account, you can follow this step-by-step guide on how to download and install this skill. This guide is very extensive and there are a lot of steps. I would say that it’s pretty easy, but it’s going to take ambition and patience.
Can Alexa Use Google Maps?
Google Maps is the most accurate and widely used GPS Mapping and Navigation App on the market. Some users are opting to add Alexa to their car also, but can you use her in conjunction with Google Maps?
Yes, you can. If you have an Android device, Google Maps is actually the default navigation app. It will remain so under the Amazon app until you physically change it. If you have an iOS device, then you’re going to have to change your Default Navigation App under your Alexa App settings.
To change your Default Navigation App on iOS, you need to first open the Alexa app on your phone. Once the app is open, go to “Settings“, “Traffic”, “Default Navigation App”. Select “Google Maps“.
Lastly, you make sure that the apps banner notifications are on to allow for proper usage.
Note: If you are an Android user and your Alexa app isn’t using Google Maps as it’s Default Navigation App, then follow the same steps as outlined for iOS.
Alexa can be added to your car with the Amazon Echo Auto (you can check out the latest pricing here on Amazon). Echo Auto is connected to the internet using your smartphone.
To be honest, you just need to be sure of what you’re going to be using Alexa for primarily. If you find that you are often asking Alexa questions that are left unanswered, then it’s a good idea to go through the trouble of downloading the custom skill.
Keep in mind that this skill is not official, so it might be a little tricky to install, but once it’s on your device, you’ll use it more often than not.
Another way around this, if you have the means, is to get both of the devices. These devices aren’t that expensive and they can easily coesist.
Many people actually prefer to get both devices, Amazon Echo and Google Home. If you want to learn more about the differences between the two and why getting both could benefit you, click here.