Sonos vs Echo vs Google Home

Has Sonos made any announcements since the Google Home announcement? You have to assume that Apple / Microsoft are not far behind ..

Even the Google Home announcement has to get someone at Sonos thinking. Any voice recognition is also going to need be be backed by

Home Automation
Artificial Intelligence
Search .

By and large this doesn't seem to align with Sonos' main mission .. Would seem easier to partner than try to do this themselves - No ?

21 replies

It's been what, 2 business days since Google's announcement?

Sonos' CEO has tweeted about it, but were you REALLY expecting an official press release of some sort? REALLY?

John MacFarlane ‏@JohnLMacFarlane
Early days for voice control in the home - excited ride this as it becomes real: Google Home
So lets get this right. Companies like Google and Microsoft - which could buy Sonos with pocket change - are coming out with products

Those products are going to leverage things they are core at. AI, Search for starters ..

Its one thing to say you are investing in a technology. Its another to look at the marketplace - and understand exactly what you are competing with

Not integrating with the Echo ASAP is going to look like a silly decision, if it isn't alread
You were asking about Google's voice product, which isn't even out yet, now you're talking about Amazon Echo. You can integrate Echo and Sonos today, with the yonomi app, and Sonos' CEO has said that voice control, possibly via Alexa, is coming. It's been discussed here for weeks.
Userlevel 5
Badge +3
I think I must stand alone in the "can't stand / don't value voice control" line.

My Sonos system is absolutely wonderful to listen to and enjoy throughout my house. The controller is simple to use and available on, if my count is correct, 7 different devices in my home, rarely out of arms reach. It does what it is intended to do, and it does it extremely well. I hope that this voice control craze doesn't come at the expense of the core purpose of the Sonos product.

To each his own, but I don't (often) use Siri on my iPhone or the voice control that as been in all of my cars since my 2008 Acura TL. Maybe the problem is I've never really given it a fair shake and spent much time learning the ins and outs. But I get the feeling that the excitement around voice control is more about "hey, look at this cool thing I can do" versus "hey, this is truly important to use/enjoyment".
I felt the same way about voice control via a phone. I never used Google Voice outside of a "Hey, let's try this out." Echo/Alexa is way different. Turning on lights in a dark house, when your hands are full of packages, is game changing. Having the TV be on before you get downstairs may not be game changing, but it is awful convenient. Having current weather, sports scores, traffic, news, adding calendar events, ordering from Amazon, adding to shopping lists, etc. by simply asking; no fumbling for a phone, no starting an app, is game changing. I imagine voice for Sonos will be the same.
Userlevel 5
Badge +3
Fair enough...I absolutely see the positives to turn on lights and other safety features (call 911, activate smoke alarm, lock all of the doors, etc.). But I would put the music control closer to the convenience side (such as turning on the TV from afar). I agree that it would be a fine addition to the Sonos line, but just an extra feature and not a necessity to me. Again, I might be the outlier.
I'm with you, jdag. Sonos serves its purpose well for what it was designed for. Drives me nuts to see people whining for features that are out of its scope. Even worse are the ones predicting the end of Sonos because it won't be self-driving their car by the end of the week. Frankly I don't care if Sonos is ever activated by my voice. The app works just fine. I can see the use of the lights feature jgatie mentioned, but do I really need my TV or music on in a room before I get there?
Userlevel 2
I think its because Home automation and Home entertainment are both moving forward fast. Over the next 12-18 months, all sorts of options are going to come to the fore and justifiably, people don't want to invest in a 'Betamax' scenario.

Historically Sonos haven't been interested in trying to become a 'defacto' standard. They have their own protocols and open up their API to the outside world. My thoughts are that they will do the same with VR.

Introducing an Alexa/Echo option on its own is pointless because financially, Sonos makes diddley squat from that and all it does is generate tons of Alexa/Echo sales. And someone with Alexa already probably isn't going to invest in Sonos as they can play streamed music already. Plus we still don't know when Alexa/Echo is going to be released outside the US.

We know the microphone technology is already there, (in the new P5), so to put that hardware into a new small box should be relatively straightforward. Use bought in VR software and the new device can issue the same commands that get sent from existing controllers. Providing this is not expensive, Sonos would sell gazillions. I'd have 3 !!

Open up the VR API and let Siri, Google, Amazon and any third party developer do what they want.
Userlevel 2
I use Smartthings with my Sonos. Right now I can control my Sonos from any where in the world. But because I've created my own security system using Smartthings, Sonos is an integral part of that system. I use it to blare out "intruder alert" messages - letting the intruder know that my Nest camera feed is being recorded and sent to the police. And it blares it all over my house (in every room with a speaker).

So Sonos is very important to my Home automation in that regard.

Sound Quality is very important too. Sonos is superior to the Echo. I like to think of my self as an audiophile and will usually baulk at MP3 quality. But Sonos has given me a different vantage point. The higher bit rate MP3 (fast internet connection) makes it really hard to hear the compression. This is good. The Echo is tin-y in comparison. I would probably expect the same if not a little better from GHome. So I would not sacrafice my Sonos for this device, but I would love it to be able to control my Sonos, so I get the best of everything.
I think you are simplifying the microphone on the Sonos. As I understand it there are 2? Microphones? Devices like the Echo/Google Home have more and are bidirectional

The real deal here is the Amazon Echo Dot. It doesn't have a "real" speaker. It encourages you to connect either by the 3.5MM jack (but who wants all those wires) - or via Bluetooth ..

So don't think of this as the Sonos vs Echo - its rather how to make these complimentary

So to replicate microphones in the speaker? Doesn't seem to make much sense

To replicated Voice Recognition ? Doesn't seem to make much sense

To compete with the AI being rolled out? Doesn't make sense

What does make sense - are scenarios like

Alexa - when the front door is opened play the Overture of 1812 on my Sonos

Alexa - when the back window is opened and I am not home say "Intruder Alert" on my Sonos

For Sonos to build that functionality? AND Compete with the likes of Amazon, Google ? I just don't see it
All that can be done today, using the free Yonomi app as glue.
Userlevel 2

None of that is precluded. The API should allow that connectivity.

Sonos have said that ALL of its users will be able to benefit from their entry into VR. I don't see how that can be Alexa only. And would Sonos force its customers to buy a competing product? What about the 98% of the world that cant buy the Echo (and there is still no release date)

Sonos introducing VR isn't competing with Amazon or Google at all. It should be about producing a method of controlling Sonos for ALL its customer base and also providing an interface that 3rd parties can utilise. This is the same thought processes behind all the streaming services.
Having 2 different systems processing your voice isn't going to work either. I guess Sonos could allow you to disable that, but I would expect that the lions share of uses with a microphone is going to be a 3rd party (Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc) .

Remember - exactly how many Sonos' products have microphones? Just the new 5?

And yes, they are going to need to deal with other systems. The difference is - right now - The Amazon Echo rules the roost ..
Not in my house. 😃
Again, there is likely the following situations

1. Those that don't care about VR

2. Those that will use whatever Sonos gives (which is going to require a bit of work in of itself - think WR and some basic forms of AI )

3. Those want Sonos as part of their home automation efforts. This is the group that is doing the real work right now - figuring out how all of these components should work together - and winners will evolve from this work ..

Right now I have 2 Echo's. If I could easily control my Sono's speakers with the Echo, I can tell you I would be having a field day right now. And for some ideas I am working on, I would most definitely be purchasing additional Sonos speakers

At the moment - I can't - so I am holding off on any additional Sono's purchases
You can't why? Because you can't afford them or because you can't control them with either Echo? If Echo is the answer, then you really don't want them, otherwise the existing controllers would suffice.
I would buy 2 Play 5's in a heartbeat. Already know how I would use them as part of my automation design.

So why would I spend $1000 on 2 speakers that will not integrate with any form of home automation - or based on some "hope" that Sonos is going to deliver on it?

Sounds like a dumb investment to me
Userlevel 1
Badge +4
When has Sonos promised anything and not delivered? I just invested $1000 in two Play 5's and the best audio investment I've ever made.
Not sure what they promised to be exact. Rather cryptic announcements/promises without much specifics.
Userlevel 7
Badge +25
Hi guys, great discussion. It's been a good read so far. I just wanted to let everyone know I've moved the thread over to the Music, Culture, and the Industry board since it fits better than New Community Feedback.

We don't have much to add right now as we don't have any further announcements to share regarding what voice control on Sonos looks like. But you can be sure that when it comes to Sonos we don't just forget about all our existing systems out there. We're extremely proud of the new PLAY:5 and all the hard work that went into making it the best sounding speaker we've ever made. Yes, it does have two microphones in there which aren't currently active, but no spoilers to share today on what they're going to be used for.
Userlevel 7
Badge +17
Hope it intergrates with chromecast as well as vizio. This is what "play on sonos" should have been......
Now voice working with above would defo put sonos back at the top for a long time. Just got to wait so its done right first time I guess.....