After what seems like a yearlong wait – it was – Sonos now
speaks OK Google, and it does so with aplomb.
The big news is that Sonos One Generation one and two and Sonos Beam support Google Assistant natively – you can use their far-field mics to summon Google Assistant.
What is interesting is the Sonos commitment to agnostically supporting
all its products in a voice assistant, music streaming, operating system way.
Simply put that means even its older products will support voice commands,
albeit needing an additional Google Home speaker – zero obsolescence!
Sonos is the first to support both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa as well as AirPlay 2 on the one platform.
The headline – ‘finally’ – refers to the long time between the Sonos announcement (our first report was in October 2017) and its implementation here. It was not as easy as it sounds.
A company spokesperson said (paraphrased), “It is easy with
Alexa – you write an add-on skill and get some functionality. But with Google Assistant,
you need deep integration with the whole Google Home ecosystem, and that takes
a lot more effort. Our implementation is complete apart from features that rely
on Google Voice Match – things like opening a personal calendar or buying something.
We hope to get there soon.”
During the demonstration, we saw Sonos One and Beam turn on/off
TVs, answer the usual voice assistant questions, control smart home devices
etc. As a Google Home ‘watcher,’ I can say it is a very good implementation (more
One issue that is yet to be solved (“But we are working on
it”) is using voice to access to all of Sono’s streaming music providers. At
present, you are limited to voice control of those that are integrated with
Google Home (Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, TIDAL, Tunein and IHeartRadio)
or Amazon Alexa. The rest you can access via the Sonos app or cast to the Sonos
Voice is additive
While voice control is a great step forward, it is just another
way of controlling Sonos devices. What it does add is the Google AI element. “OK
Google play some relaxation music,” is far more convenient than going via the app
to a provider. Google Assistant will serve up that music from providers that
you have accounts with.
But you can also ask Google questions, “Hey Google, do ducks
have teeth,” or set the alarm, or hear a news summary. And if you know a few words
of a song but don’t know its title, Google Assistant has the answer.
And with Chromecast and Bluetooth it becomes an audio and
video gateway. You can read more here.
Details – Sonos now speakes OK Google
Sonos version 10.2 of the app supports Google Assistant on
Sonos One (Gen 1 and Gen 2) and Sonos Beam, enabling hands-free voice control.
Support is music to 5.1
You will require the Google Home app for Android or iOS and
link the two accounts. Once that is done existing Sonos devices can be controlled
by Google Home.