One of the great things about both the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice-assistant platforms is that they’re both very open. It’s easy for third-party companies to make compatible smart home devices that work with both of them. In fact, companies can also make their own smart speakers to compete directly with those manufactured by Google and Amazon.
One of the latest companies to take up the Google Assistant smart speaker mantle is JBL, which released a new line of voice-enabled speakers in late 2017 under its new Link sub-brand. The line features a combination of two fully waterproof battery-powered portable speakers — the JBL Link 10 ($150) and Link 20 ($149.99 at Crutchfield) ($200) — as well as two AC-only models, the Link 300 ($250) and Link 500 ($400). The upcoming Link View, meanwhile, is one of a new wave of Google Assistant devices with a screen built into it.
In addition to using Google Assistant for its voice commands, all Link speakers are equipped with Google Chromecast, which enables them to join up not only with other Link speakers but any Chromecast-based audio device to create a multiroom audio setup over a Wi-Fi network. (All Android apps and many iOS apps can send audio to Chromecast speakers at the touch of a button.) The speakers are also equipped with Bluetooth, which offers universal compatibility.