Update: Bringing Google Assistant to Sonos


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Ken_Griffiths wrote:

I think if the mics do become separated out from the actual speaker, would we then end up with Google mics, Amazon mics, Apple mics etc. dotted about the home, all defaulting to say a single/set of Sonos Speaker(s).



I suppose I'm seeing things eventtually (maybe a decade or further down the road) be more a 3 component system. Microphones, voice processing, and the speakers/switches/other smart home devices. All three components are interchanable, the same one you could get a CD player, reciever, and speakers...all with different brands.

Ken_Griffiths wrote:


I accept those mic's could become one device unit, shared by all the services, but what is clear is that at the start of all this, these big providers were not too happy to share anything with each other directly.



No, they want to own thier segment of the market entirely. But if an outside company comes out with a superior mic system for homes, possibly something that can be easily done for new construction, and then goes to Google/Amazon in the rest and convinces them they either get on board or get left behind, then it could happen. Again, I am separating out the voice recognition functionality from the voice processing functionality.

Ken_Griffiths wrote:


So I can see why Sonos quickly opted to build the mics and multiple voice services into their own speakers.. I also think they were right to begin that process with their best selling Play:1 speaker and turn it into the new Sonos One, improving its sound aswell along the way.



Probably so. But as @chicks pointed out, as voice service get more and more advanced, Sonos may find them selvies constantly trying to catch up. And a lot of folks will opt to just ignore the Sonos mics and 'pair' the Sonos speaker with an dot or mini, or show, or hub...as fits their need.

Ken_Griffiths wrote:


The sonos one is now a conduit for all the big providers to 'share' and 'not share' at the same time. Sonos has become a 'broker platform' with their hardware, whilst also allowing for a healthy competitive market in voice controlled music services.



It is. I'm just not sure this strategy is going to fully pay off in the long run.

Ken_Griffiths wrote:


I do wonder though, what will be the next step for all those companies involved here?



I think much of that will depend on how well the current batch of tech does in this holdiay season.
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I have this feeling sonos always wants to avoid chromecast from native apps, as they always want to use the sonos app somehow to keep you in their ecosystem.
Many many speakers can chromecast already, wouldn't this devalue sonos if it was just another chromecast speaker?
I suppose their ideal is a new house with just sonos in it, you can voice control alexa, google sometime soon, no need to buy anybody elses stuff........
Trouble is they are too late to the party, loads of people gave up waiting and went & bought alexa, google, apple voice speakers....
Paulw123 wrote:

I have this feeling sonos always wants to avoid chromecast from native apps, as they always want to use the sonos app somehow to keep you in their ecosystem.



Always? You mean "always" except for the Pandora app . . . and Google Play Music app . . . and Spotify app . . . and every app that can play to Airplay 2 . . . and every 3rd party home automation entity that wishes to use their brand new built for purpose API.

Yeah . . . that's some always. :8
That might make some sense if Sonos was pushing ads in their controller app, and making money off of them, but I've not seen them indicate that they've got an interest in that. I do think, however, that's why Entercom and iHeart Radio left TuneIn, they wanted to be able to push their own ads and get revenue from them.
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Paulw123 wrote:


Many many speakers can chromecast already, wouldn't this devalue sonos if it was just another chromecast speaker?



I don't think so. Not sure why it would.

Paulw123 wrote:


I suppose their ideal is a new house with just sonos in it, you can voice control alexa, google sometime soon, no need to buy anybody elses stuff........



Isn't that every speaker company's dream?

Paulw123 wrote:


Trouble is they are too late to the party, loads of people gave up waiting and went & bought alexa, google, apple voice speakers....



I don't think that's trouble at all. Sonos works with Alexa even if you don't own a speaker with built in voice assistant. The same will surely be true for Google. And Sonos enabled airplay 2 wherever it technically could.

I'd also add that Amazon and Google took the approach of having low cost devices to get customers on to their ecosystem. A very smart approach. But that's also good for Sonos in a way, because those people have not invested too much in their dot and mini's, and therefore won't feel like they are wasting too much money by replacing them with a Sonos One or Beam, or getting some other Sonos product in addition to the dot/mini to improve sound quality.
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jgatie wrote:

Paulw123 wrote:

I have this feeling sonos always wants to avoid chromecast from native apps, as they always want to use the sonos app somehow to keep you in their ecosystem.



Always? You mean "always" except for the Pandora app . . . and Google Play Music app . . . and Spotify app . . . and every app that can play to Airplay 2 . . . and every 3rd party home automation entity that wishes to use their brand new built for purpose API.

Yeah . . . that's some always. :8


I was only really thinking about chromecast and why sonos/google didn't expand on casting from google play music on android from 2013 to include chromecast ability years ago, or when sony et al did. Maybe no good reason, I have no idea.

Google closed down sonophone using GPM, as presumably they want to collect data from official sonos controllers, or google wanted money from sonophone....

I hope chromecast target to sonos comes, but I wouldn't be surprised if the bbc iplayer app won't see sonos as a cast target and only google assistant voice works, as it maybe easier for google to track data that way.
Sonos are not saying either way....
. . . and the iHeartRadio app.

https://en.community.sonos.com/announcements-228985/control-sonos-from-the-iheartradio-app-6815108
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Paulw123 wrote:

[]
I was only really thinking about chromecast and why sonos/google didn't expand on casting from google play music on android from 2013 to include chromecast ability years ago, or when sony et al did. Maybe no good reason, I have no idea.

...



The former CEO did an interview in 2013 where he said they wouldn't do Spotify Connect (said it didn't make sense) - and that Sonos would go their own way with a Sonos audio Chromecast like feature. This was a long time ago and lots has changed... I don't think it is about app lock in, probably more about resources.
Plenty of customers who love the way their music app works, and won’t use the Sonos app. Allowing them to use the same app they use in the car, at work, jogging, etc, in the Home makes perfect sense.

Streaming providers have put $$$$ into their apps, making them great to use, discover our tastes, make recommendations based on what we’ve played, even let us socialize with friends and artists. The Sonos app, while offering certain advantages, can’t replicate many of these features, and is, let’s admit it, fairly clunky compared to our favorite music app.

Things have changed considerably since 2013, including the leadership of Sonos.
Smilja wrote:

Folks, it's just a delay by a few months. Google Assistant hasn't been cancelled.



The article just says we will get another UPDATE in 2019. no promises of actual release date.

As a Google music listener this is even more frustrating because I got my wife hooked on using Alexa to play music (assuming I would switch over to GA when it is out) using free trial periods.... Now I am stuck either paying for 2 streaming services, being forced to switch from google music, or tell my wife that Alexa is broken until GA is released....

Sonos: I am amazed how slow this is going and frankly cannot recommend your ecosystem to anyone at the moment until you can show you can keep up with the other major tech players with more than just words.
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What tech players offer Google integration with their sound system?
Meanwhile, Best Buy had the Chromecast Audio dongles on sale for $15. Plugged it into a spare Connect, set the Home Hub to default to it, and the Connect's Line In to autoplay to my Ones. Now have a nice workaround, voice control and album display on the Hub, playback on the Ones, transparently. Can't voice control to play elsewhere, but volume, skip, selection, etc via the Hub. Nice. Full Sonos integration will be even nicer.

It would actually be okay with me if Google Assistant doesn’t make it to Sonos, as it will just be feeding the big spy machine that it is.
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Jazzmayn wrote:

It would actually be okay with me if Google Assistant doesn’t make it to Sonos, as it will just be feeding the big spy machine that it is.



Is that the big spy machine that is your ISP or the big spy machine that is smartphones, laptops etc?
When this is finally released will people be switching fromAlexa to Google? Ive just purchased my first Alexa Device a Sonos Beam. Is Google Home better than Alexa?
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Mitchellsx wrote:

When this is finally released will people be switching fromAlexa to Google? Ive just purchased my first Alexa Device a Sonos Beam. Is Google Home better than Alexa?



Good question. From what I speculate, there are 5 factors that ultimate decide which voice assistant a user is going to go with.

1 -brand loyalty. People have become 'fanboys' of a particular company and will tend to buy products from that company going forward independent of other redeeming qualities. They have other products by the company and want to stick with it. (I'm on the fence on this myself as I have android phones and use Amazon for shopping and services frequently. However, I'm not likely how big these and other companies are becoming. I'd love to see a voice service come out from someone other than Apple/Google/Amazon/Microsoft that can get the job done)

2 - familiarity. If you've already got Google or Amazon voice services in your home. You may just want to stick with what you know and are used to. (This is definitely me with Alexa. I have a Google mini in my home too, but I just never stop to say "Hey Google".

3 - music features. We don't really know what features are going to be included with the Google integration. If Google integration is better than it is with Alexa, like ability to play any Sonos music service or local libraries for instance, than many folks will happily go with Google. (I am doubtful that any of this will matter to me)

4 - other product features. Putting aside what the voice assistants can do with Sonos from a music standpoint, there is the features of the voice assistants in general. The consensus seems to be that Google is better overall, particularly for providing information. If this is important to you, then It may be a deciding factor (It's not to me)

5 - Sonos VA features. - As we know with the Alexa integration, Sonos Ones and Beams cannot do everything that an Echo can do. If the feature set with Google is bigger in this area, that could be a deciding factor.

[edit - per Ken] 6 - Music service - The cost and preference of music service

Also worth noting that you may not have to really chose between Google and Alexa, as they may both be operable at the same time. That said, I think people will naturally gravitate towards preferring one or the other.
Amazon Music Unlimited costs me £79.99 per year. What are the costs of the Google Music service? Will that also be a factor, perhaps?
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Ken_Griffiths wrote:

Amazon Music Unlimited costs me £79.99 per year. What are the costs of the Google Music service? Will that also be a factor, perhaps?



I went and added it to my list. In my mind, it's a part of brand loyalty, since I've invested in Amazon Music Unlimited already, but that wouldn't be everybody for sure. If you don't really have a music service preference at this point, then cost and what the different services give you would matter.
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melvimbe wrote:

Ken_Griffiths wrote:

Amazon Music Unlimited costs me £79.99 per year. What are the costs of the Google Music service? Will that also be a factor, perhaps?



I went and added it to my list. In my mind, it's a part of brand loyalty, since I've invested in Amazon Music Unlimited already, but that wouldn't be everybody for sure. If you don't really have a music service preference at this point, then cost and what the different services give you would matter.



TBH, this is what I looking forward to. Initially, I was a Google Home fan but after using Alexa due to Sonos including it and getting more Smart Home features, I prefer Alexa except for General Internet searches.
I like Amazon Alexa too, having used it for the past year, or so.

I do use Amazon Prime for shopping and their Movie Service, that also costs £79.99 per year... pity there is no discount for having Prime alongside their Ultimate Music Service, but that’s another story.

I currently use (prefer) Netflix aswell, particularly with my Sonos Home Theatre Setup in the Dining Room.

I have tried both Spotify and Apple Music (with the added iTunes Match annual subscription) in the past. Not a lot between them all really. They all charge around £10 per month, but it looks like the Google Music Service is going to be part of a bundle, costing £16.99 per month. I can see that perhaps putting a few people off their service, as some folk appear to moan already at paying the tenner per month.

A while back, there was rumour online that Apple was going to start a streaming movie service too to compete with Netflix, and that the service might be included in their £10 monthly music subscription. That would probably attract a few people. Having said that, whilst I like Apple hardware, I’m not a fan of Siri or HomeKit for the smart home devices I have.

Amazon are currently offering three months unlimited music for 0.99p ... so I can see the 'streaming music' battle perhaps hotting up a bit in the coming year.

At the moment my thoughts are that I will be sticking with Amazon. Google will have to go someway to win me over to their services.

For several months I have been using a Google Home Mini hub in the bedroom and Lounge for voice control, but I can’t say I’m a huge fan at the moment. Maybe the Sonos integration will change my mind... we shall have to see.
UKMedia wrote:


TBH, this is what I looking forward to. Initially, I was a Google Home fan but after using Alexa due to Sonos including it and getting more Smart Home features, I prefer Alexa except for General Internet searches.



the same for me. BUT I whould prefer to have a choice on the matter. So, Sonos Inc, happy 2019: where is our google assistant advertised compatibility?
Mitchellsx wrote:

When this is finally released will people be switching fromAlexa to Google? Ive just purchased my first Alexa Device a Sonos Beam. Is Google Home better than Alexa?



I use both. In the home office, I have a pair of Play:1s, stacked on some old Edirol MA-15D studio monitors. An Echo Dot voice controls the Play:1s, while a Google Home Hub controls the Edirols via a Chromecast Audio to the optical input.

I listen to jazz playlists auto generated by Spotify, Google, Pandora or Smazon Music throughout the day. I find myself always preferring the Home Hub vs the Dot, because it always displays the current song, important to me in a random playlist.

It’s a bit tiring to utter “OK, Google” vs “Alexa”, but Google still understands me slightly better, though both have improved substantially over the past year or two.

I really do look forward to the Google Assistant integration, so I can replace the Edirols completely with the better sounding Play:1s, while seeing what’s playing at a glance, without having to lower the music by asking.

The Hub also provides a ton of information visually. The Echo Show can do this, too, but refuses to display what’s playing on another speaker. Google has figured this out much better than Amazon at this point.


I was using an Google home mini for about half a year, and was not really happy with it. That was one of the reasons why I bought a Sonos One for my new apartment because I wanted to try out if Alexa is any better. And I was thinking that I'd be able to switch my assistant anyways as soon as Sonos releases the update.
After using Alexa now for about 3 months I have to say that I can't wait for the update to release.

In my opinion google is so much better in understanding wat you want it to do. I can talk to it in a much more natural way. With Alexa I always have to fomulate my senteces exactly the right way, and if I accidentally switch two words it does not know what to do.

For example:
With Google Assistant I can say: Turn off the lights. It will go ahead and first check which room the google home is assigned to, then it will switch off all lights that are assigned to the same room leaving all other lughts untouched. If i wanted to turn off all lights I would say: Switch off all lights.

With Alexa I have to say: Turn off all lights. But this only works if I have a group called "all lights" and if I would say: Turn off the lights, it asks me which light I would like to torn off which is really annoying because it will do this every time I don't say the sentence exactly in the right way.

Another example of how smart the Google Assistant is: I have a desk which is fitted with two led stripes, one on the left and one on the right called "desk right" and "desk left". I can of course turn them on individually but the more impressive thing is when i say "turn on the desk lights" it figures out that i want to turn on both of them.

Because I have a lot of smart home devices at home I like the Assistant much better than Alexa.
I just hope that the Sonos implementation of it will support crontrolling chromecast enabled devices like the google home does because in my opinion this is another great feature that is missing on Amazons solution.

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