Inconsistency in how Sonos groups are handled via Google Assistant

  • 18 May 2019
  • 6 replies

Userlevel 1
Badge +1
Hello all!
I've chatted with Sonos support on Twitter regarding my issue, but I am not entirely convinced by their answer.
Here is my setup:
  1. Two Sonos Play:1 stereo pairs, spread over four rooms.
  2. One Play:5 in the fifth room.
  3. I end up with three groups, group1 (stereo pair), group2 (stereo pair) and group3 (single stereo speaker).
After linking my Sonos with Google Assistant through the app, all the three groups be seen I the Google Home app. Here is where the fun begins.
If I say to my Google Home: "Play music on Sonos", "Play next on Sonos", "play previous on Sonos", I get responses like "OK, playing music on [name of the Sonos group name]" (I don't know how Google Home decides which one. Say, this is not a big deal...
However, if I say "set volume to 20% on Sonos" or "turn it up / down on Sonos", only the volume on one of the Sonos groups is changed. If I want to change the volume on all of the groups, I have to give the command for each group separately and specify the group name as part of the command.

Why such inconsistency in behavior? Why "play" command can trigger all of the Sonos groups at the same time but not the volume-related commands?
I am also noticing that "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" commands do not work, but this is less important to me at the moment.

Thanks for any thoughts.

Best answer by Sjoop1985 19 May 2019, 10:28

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6 replies

Userlevel 7
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Hi Victor

You need to specific the Sonos Room name in the command rather than just Sonos. Please try again with 'Play music on [Sonos Room Name]'
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
No, no, the "play" command seems to work fine, but what about setting the volume? In the suggested scenario specifying the room name would be counter-intuitive!
I'm not sure that I understand your setup. A stereo pair is not a group. If you have 2 Play:1 in separate rooms and group them together, that is not a stereo pair. A true stereo pair normally consists of two speakers, semi-permanently bonded, behaving as a single "room" in Sonos. Depending on what your actual configuration is, this difference might explain why the system doesn't behave as you expect.
Userlevel 1
Badge +1
I think you are correct.
What I call groups, I should probably call rooms.
So, yes, my two stereo pairs are in four rooms physically, but in two rooms virtually. Following this logic, I only have one group in Sonos, correct?
Still, I am able to adjust the volume for the whole group in the Sonos app, however, this seems to be impossible from the Google Assistant.
Am I unique with my setup? 🙂
The GA integration currently only controls rooms, not groups. No word on what's going to be implemented in the future.
If rooms are already grouped in Sonos, a request to play music to a grouped room will not break the group, but play to the whole group. Volume control with GA is comparable to using the touch buttons on a speaker - it only controls that room, not the entire group.

So, yes, my two stereo pairs are in four rooms physically, but in two rooms virtually.
Am I unique with my setup? :)

But... Why? Why would you create a stereo pair, then put the two speakers in different rooms? I could imagine that it might result in issues, with one player (the right) dropping out. Also, if you are listening to an actual stereo recording, the music would sound different in different physical rooms, because one is playing the right channel, and another the left. If you have 4 physical rooms, why not just use the Play:1s as 4 Sonos rooms. It will give you more granular control over what's playing where, but it will not remove the ability to play in perfect sync - you can do that by grouping. Downside is that volume control will then be a separate affair for each Sonos room.
Userlevel 3
Badge +6
This is why Sonos needs to address groups with Google Assistant. It could be as simple as having the user define preset groups in the app and then assigning a name to them. Google Home handles this quite well already. Sonos just needs to piggy back off of what they've already got going. I know... easy for me to say but still!