Sonos now speaks OK Google – finally

Sonos speaks OK Google
100% human

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 speaks OK Google

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 here)

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 speakers.

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.

Sonos speaks OK Google