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Sonos has long been promising to add Google Assistant's voice control to its speakers, and legions of loyal Sonos owners have been waiting.
That wait ends tonight, as Sonos begins to push out a free software update to activate Google's chatty assistant for its Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers – although not older models such as the Play:1 or Play:5.
So how well does it deliver on the Sonos+Google promise? Having lived with Google Assistant on my Sonos speakers for the past few weeks, I can report that in most ways it's exactly the same as using Google's own Home-branded smart speakers but with the bonus of superior sound quality.
You can fire off Web search queries, check your calendar, set alarms and control associated piece of smart home kit.
But most importantly, you can ask put aside the Sonos app and simply ask the speaker's inbuilt Google Assistant to play your favourite albums, artists, playlists or genres from the likes of Spotify and Google Play Music (but not Apple Music), along with podcasts and online radio stations.
It's a seamless experience, without the need to reach for your smartphone, and the ability to request your music hands-free quickly becomes second nature, especially when you're busy in the kitchen.
In the lounge room, the Sonos Beam – which is both a smart speaker and a superb soundbar for your large-screen television – can switch on the TV and adjust the volume, but this doesn't extend to asking it to launch Netflix or Stan, or any of your smart TV's inbuilt streaming apps.
Putting Sonos' brilliant audio aside, these Google-friendly speakers can’t distinguish different voices in your household. This means, unlike Google’s own smart speakers, they can't offer personalised answers to questions like “what's on my calendar today?”.
Many Sonos homes are outfitted with several speakers, and this also reveals another wrinkle: you have to constantly tell Google which speaker you want to control when adjusting the volume or changing the track, which becomes a bit tedious.
Finally, if you've been using Amazon's Alexa on your Sonos One or Sonos Beam, this will need to be disabled to run Google Assistant: it's an either/or proposition. At least now you have a choice...
Review: Sonos speakers with Google Assistant voice control
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