Is this ever going to get better?

  • 18 November 2019
  • 19 replies
  • 1499 views

Userlevel 4
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I’ve been using Google Assistant on my Sonos One pair ever since it became available, and I’ve been hoping that sooner or later some of the problems and issues will be resolved, but I’ve just about given up. I haven’t seen Sonos fix a single problem since the initial release. Did their one contract guy working on Google Assistant quit?

 

It’s just getting very frustrating to see the same annoying problems over and over again. My Sonos One frequently freezes for 30 seconds or more when I ask GA to do something, and half the time it fails with “there was an error/glitch”. I can see in the Google log that it got the right command, it just didn’t do it! I can then walk over to my Google Home Mini and give it the same command, and it always executes immediately with no error. Lately it’s gotten worse, with Routines almost never completing successfully when I attempt to run them from Sonos GA, leaving the Sonos speaker stuck frozen and unresponsive for a minute or more!

 

Is this ever going to get better?


19 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +26

Hi Doug, some of that behavior sounds like it may be network related regarding your One’s link back to the Internet. Do you have any trouble with songs cutting out while playing or the player not showing up in the Sonos app?

If you haven’t yet, I’d suggest that you contact our support team and work with a technician to investigate what’s happening.

Google Assistant on your Sonos should function just about the same as it does on your Home Mini, with some slight functionality differences based on features that might not be available on Sonos. In other words, it should take just about the same amount of time to do commands that are supposed to work.

Userlevel 4
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That’s an easy answer, but it’s not the right answer. My Sonos speakers are close to the router and receive a strong signal.They never had a problem when they were running Alexa. My Echo Dot now in the same location never has a problem. Sonos GA never freezes when I ask it a simple question, like “what’s the weather?”. It’s almost always when I ask it to run a Google routine. Music never cuts out - If was playing music and I issue a GA command that has an error, the music volume goes low but continues uninterrupted in the background.

Actual test, performed just now: “Hey Google, what’s the weather?” Ans: immediate answer with current and projected weather. Then “Hey Google, morning wake up” (a routine). Sonos freezes with the white light on solid for almost a minute with no response. Nothing can unfreeze it. Then “Something went wrong. Try again later.”

I can see in Google’s activity log that it got the command and recognized it correctly - and then nothing. But I say the same thing to the Google Home Mini, and everything works fine.

Userlevel 7
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As you suggest, it does sound like it might not be network based. 

What’s your “morning wake up” routine supposed to do? 

What other types of commands have the same sort of issues? 

Userlevel 4
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My routines usually have several commands. The morning one turns on the light, turns up the thermostat, says the weather, then plays my news briefing. With Google Home it almost always runs successfully, and if a step fails it gives an immediate error message.

 

With Google Assistant on Sonos, what seems to happen is that part way through it freezes and goes unresponsive for more than a minute, then says something failed. Lately it does this more often than not.

Userlevel 7
Badge +26

Do you think you could test a couple routines by dropping one or two actions to see if it behaves better without one type of command? For example, make a routine that turns on the light, turns up the thermostat, and says the weather. Then try one that turns on the light, turns up the thermostat, and then plays your news briefing?

The idea is to see if it’s the amount of commands that is stalling it somehow, or a specific type of command is causing the issue. I’m testing out a few myself as well to try and recreate it. I don’t have the thermostat available to test with, but I can manage the others.

Userlevel 4
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I would be happy to try these tests, but wouldn’t you know it - suddenly everything is working fine again. After 100% failure rate last week, this week the routines are 100% ok. I’ll wait until the next time it starts failing and try more detailed tests then. I have a feeling that something specific in some routines is occasionally failing for reasons unrelated to Sonos, and the difference is in how Google Home and Google Assistant on Sonos respond. Google Home reports a failure very quickly, while GA/S freezes for a minute waiting for something.

Userlevel 3
Badge +2

‘Google Assistant on your Sonos should function just about the same as it does on your Home Mini, with some slight functionality differences based on features that might not be available on Sonos. In other words, it should take just about the same amount of time to do commands that are supposed to work.’

 

Ha Ha - so untrue

 

You’re right Doug. This service is riddled with problems and Sonos don’t seem able to fix any of them

Userlevel 7
Badge +26

Hi Bigskull, if there’s something in particular that you have trouble with I’d be happy to take a look, or if it’s missing functionality I can always pass your requests on over to the development teams.

Userlevel 3
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Ok:

1. Regular functions working and then not working at random (device not available, content not available, sorry I don't know how to help with that, 'stop' command not working. etc etc).
2. No shuffle command.
3. No voice calling
4. No voice recognition for multiple accounts (this is probably the most important)
5. No microphone on 2nd speaker of stereo pair (as with Alexa).
6. Ridiculously loud assistant replies (especially with Beam).
7. Delayed response.
8. Assistant responding on phone and speaker.
9. No ability to thumbs up songs.


It may be that some of these things have now been fixed but Sonos doesn't give anything away so who knows??
 

Userlevel 7
Badge +26

Thanks for the specifics! I’ll pass along the interest in the features that don’t exist on Sonos with Google Assistant. 

Commands not working or delayed responses could be symptoms of network or connection trouble.

Number 6 certainly comes up and it’s because the voice assistant uses the same volume that player is set at, with no normalization. So with the Beam, if you have the volume turned up for TV, the voice assistant could be much louder. I’ve passed on some requests to have a separate volume scale for the assistant responses.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

While I appreciate the response, I feel that I and others have posted all of these issues and others, and there has been no effective response from Sonos. Which led to my earlier question, is anything at all happening with bug fixing and improvements for GA on Sonos? I would be very happy to hear something that re-assures me things are being fixed.

@ Doug Ames I’m about to decide on Google Assistant or Alexa to control my growing Sonos system. While integration with Sonos is not my only criterion for choosing, it is an important one. Your remarks about GA and Sonos make me very wary of going with GA. Would you agree that Alexa currently works much better with Sonos than GA? Thanks for cutting my learning curve.

Userlevel 4
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Would you agree that Alexa currently works much better with Sonos than GA?

I use both Alexa and Google Home, and I have used both Alexa and Google Assistant on my Sonos speakers. I would say that there are fewer bugs with Alexa, possibly just because it has been around longer on Sonos and maybe Sonos has fixed a few things even at their glacial pace of responding to bug reports (hmmm, maybe with climate change we need to stop using that expression). But Alexa on Sonos is more limited than “real Alexa” in the same way that Google Assistant is more limited than Google Home. Beyond that, the usual pros and cons between Alexa and Google Home apply: I find that Google has better understanding of general queries and a better response, while Alexa is smoother and more reliable for routine operational requests. Google is exasperating sometimes with its quirky and variable responses, and the wordiness of its responses. Alexa still has a broader range of skills and device support.

Sorry that’s not a clear recommendation!

Would you agree that Alexa currently works much better with Sonos than GA?

 and maybe Sonos has fixed a few things even at their glacial pace of responding to bug reports (hmmm, maybe with climate change we need to stop using that expression). 

 

Had to laugh and agree. Thanks for your great info and clear response. Trying to assemble a set of hardware and apps that play nice together and have the functionality that I want can be a real challenge. A complex chess game with predictions about future trends and usually trade offs that are less than pleasant. It reminds me of my early days with Windows and the great posts about annoyances and limited work arounds.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

Do you think you could test a couple routines by dropping one or two actions to see if it behaves better without one type of command? For example, make a routine that turns on the light, turns up the thermostat, and says the weather. Then try one that turns on the light, turns up the thermostat, and then plays your news briefing?

The idea is to see if it’s the amount of commands that is stalling it somehow, or a specific type of command is causing the issue. I’m testing out a few myself as well to try and recreate it. I don’t have the thermostat available to test with, but I can manage the others.


Ok, this problem of freezing in the middle of a common routine started happening again, and I got a little more insight into it. I think the problem originates when the Google Home routine hits a command to IFTTT. I can see in the IFTTT activity log that the command failed because the IFTTT applet issued a webhook call, and for some reason that call timed out without a response. That probably caused the Google Home routine to freeze at that point.

 

But it turns out that the routine hasn’t aborted. I discovered that if I wait long enough - in this case about 2 minutes, the routine actually continues.

 

As I mentioned in my original post, this never happens with my real Google Home units. If a step fails in the routine, they wait about 10 seconds, then say “Something went wrong” and abort the routine.

 

So the problem here is that GA on Sonos is getting stuck for a ridiculous length of time when a Google Home routine fails at some step, whereas real Google Home speakers do not get stuck and time out quickly.

 

Since I still haven’t seen Sonos fix a single problem with Google Assistant since it was first released, I therefore have little hope that anyone will fix this, but for what it’s worth, there’s my report. :)

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

Do you think you could test a couple routines by dropping one or two actions to see if it behaves better without one type of command?

 

The problem with the routine continues over a second day in a row now, and I’ve been able to do a few more tests. I’ve determined that it was not the IFTTT command that caused the Google Assistant routine to freeze - that was actually an unrelated minor issue that does not prevent the routine from working.

 

By process of elimination I have been able to determine that the command within the routine that causes it to freeze is “Set volume 40%”. This is a command that should go to the Sonos speaker itself. And in fact I can tell the Sonos speaker right now “Set volume 40%” … and it freezes for a full minute and then says “Something went wrong”. It’s erratic - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. As always, the Google activity log shows that Google Assistant heard the command correctly, but froze while attempting unsuccessfully to execute it for an extended period of time.

 

So this problem is actually the same Sonos problem as I and others have reported previously where GA on Sonos hears a command, freezes for an extended period like 60 seconds with the white activity LED on, then says something went wrong. Apparently when this happens within a GA routine, the routine freezes at that point and GA becomes unresponsive, with no indication of the problem. This explains why my other Google Home speakers never have this problem with the same routine - the “set volume” command always works on the Google speakers, but sometimes not on the Sonos speakers.

 

This additional information about the problem affecting my routine actually casts more light on the general problem. The suggestion has previously been that maybe it’s a WiFi issue somehow. If it is, it would have to be in the Google-to-Sonos-speaker direction, because clearly if it happens on a command within a Google Assistant routine that was successfully started by voice command a few seconds earlier, we know that it cannot be a failure to receive the command. You would then have to explain why Google is repeatedly unable to send a command to the Sonos speaker via WiFi when it was able to receive a command seconds earlier.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

… and GA on Sonos has been acting up for the last 2 days, frequently freezing and failing to respond to commands. Sometimes the command goes ahead 30 seconds later, sometimes it freezes for a minute and then says “something went wrong” or “there was a glitch”. Many different commands, even “what time is it?” sometimes. Definitely not a WiFi problem - I have an Echo Dot in the same room, and I can do something like tell GA on Sonos to play a radio station from TuneIn, GA freezes, after 30 seconds I get impatient and tell Alexa to play the station to Sonos, which always works immediately. And then 30 seconds later GA breaks into the broadcast playing on the Sonos speaker to tell me “there was a glitch”.

Userlevel 4
Badge +6

A few more notes:

I see mention from Sonos in the last few days that they have discovered a problem with Google Assistant on the Sonos One Gen2, and they are working on it. I have a gen1/gen2 pair, and I am using the gen2 as the voice assistant speaker. Might the gen2 fix address my issue?

The problem of erratic command failure keeps coming back. Each time the way I have found to fix it is to change the LAN IP address of the voice speaker. I just switch it back and forth between 2 different dedicated LAN IP addresses that are not in conflict with anything else. Each time it is fixed for a few days, then the failures gradually start coming back until more than 50% of commands fail.

Lastly, I have now seen something apparently similar happen with a different Google Assistant speaker! I have a portable Seiki Bluetooth speaker that runs Google Assistant which I haven’t used much, and it hasn’t had any problem - until today when I turned it on and it exhibited the same issue I have see with Sonos. Erratic command failures. Turning it off and on again didn’t help, but changing the LAN IP address cured it.

(Just to repeat once again earlier test results: I’m sure there is no IP address conflict on my LAN, and it’s not a WiFi issue - switching to Ethernet on the Sonos speakers does not help. Rebooting the router does not help unless the Sonos speaker changes IP address).

I'm having the same issue. When I ask google on my Sonos 1 to do anything it pauses about 30 seconds, tells me there's an error or glitch. Most commands work anyway (e.g. turn on lights). This is a new issue. Google assistant worked fine for several months - this just started. There must be a resolution. This is an important feature for sonos. I got rid of my google and amazon speakers.

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