Waiting for that Sonos Google Assistant integration to land? The official word is that it will arrive sometime this year, but if you are already rocking a device packing Google Assistant and you want voice controls for your Sonos system now, then you're in luck.
And we’re not talking about a clunky workaround using IFTTT or Samsung SmartThings – as people have been making do with – we’re talking voice commands direct to your Google Home, with instant(ish) reactions from your Sonos system. The only fiddly bit is the initial routine setup, but that should take you no longer than about 20 minutes.
The first thing to do is, if you haven’t already, create an account with Yonomi. Yonomi, a rival to the likes of IFTTT and Stringify, is already a fantastic little app that can scan your home’s Wi-Fi for compatible devices and platforms, offering up a wealth of autonomous actions without any leg work from you.
Pairing Sonos with Yonomi is a doddle. Fire up the Yonomi app for the first time and it will scan your home network and find all of your Sonos speakers, which will all be individually listed. The app will also list a load of other smart home tech it sees and can control – but don’t worry about that for now, let’s focus on getting Google Assistant controlling your music system.
You need to link your Google Assistant-packing device to your Yonomi account from within the Google Home app. Click 'Home control', click the '+' sign at the bottom-right and then select Yonomi from the list. You’re done. All existing Routines will be available, so it’s not just Sonos controls you can speaketh.
What to say
Get used to saying “turn on” or “activate”, because that’s how you get the Yonomi Routines working with Google Assistant. Simply saying “play” will just kick Google into native mode, you’ll end up listening to the radio or your playlists through your Google Home speaker or your Android phone. You can also say, “Ask Yonomi to…” but that’s a bit long winded and not really as natural.
And don’t go thinking you can simply stop the routines – i.e. stop the audio playback – by saying “stop” or even “turn off”. You’ll have to create a separate routine to do this and have it perform a pause. We went for one called The Silence. We are enjoying saying, “Hey Google, activate The Silence.”
With Yonomi, you create Routines, which are essentially automated actions much like you get with IFTTT and from within the Alexa app. To create one for a Sonos speaker, simply select the speaker you want control of and give the Routine a name.
Your options, when it comes to your Sonos speakers, are as follows. The words following the “Hey Google, turn on/activate” part of the example commands are our suggested names for what you could call that Routine.
Semi-useful we suppose – if you wanted a morning alert on your bedside table.
Example command: “Hey Google, turn on the weather report.”
This is a very handy one – by Favourite it is referring to your favourites from within the Sonos app, i.e. albums or radio stations.
Example command: “Ok Google, activate Essex FM.”
Play Random Sound
Just bananas. If you want your Sonos to randomly play an evil laugh, some sleigh bells or the sound of a cell door slamming, this is the one for you.
Example command: We refuse to endorse this one.
Play / Pause / Next / Previous / Mute / Unmute / Set Volume to 25%
All of the above are individual commands that are obviously useful when listening to albums or playlists. Remember to name them something that sounds natural when you want to trigger one of them.
Example command: “Hey Google, activate the next song.”
This one picks up playlists from within your Sonos app, not your Spotify playlists – so make sure you copy any over that you want included.
Example command: “Ok Google, turn on My Hacienda Madchester Megamix.”
The commands above give you a pretty good level of control over your Sonos system without having to fire up an app or touch a button, but it’s far from perfect. There are plenty of flaws within the new system. Here’s the biggest bones we can pick…
– Volume. There's no up or down, it's just possible to activate a set level (the 25% mentioned above). Your Google Assistant also, once it gets the music started, doesn’t actually know that you’re listening to music – it won’t lower the volume on your Sonos so it can hear a command more clearly; which is what happens with the ‘official’ Sonos and Alexa hook-up. Therefore, you’ll actually be shouting for the sounds to stop if you’re listening at a loud level.
– No individual songs, unless you add them to favourites or lonely playlists, and create Routines for them.
– No artist radio and no just randomly shuffling a certain artist.
– Grouping doesn’t work properly. You can add more than one Sonos speaker into a Routine but those Sonos speakers will play independently of each other. Chances are, each speaker will get the command from your Google Assistant, via Yonomi, at slightly different times and, even with a millisecond or two difference, you’re not going to have that seamless experience. However, as with Alexa and Sonos, it will pick up previous groupings – e.g. if you had the kitchen speaker paired with the dining room speaker when you were last using Sonos, and you have a Routine that sets off an action on one of those, it will repeat – in sync – with the other.
If you want more than just music playback, you can also throw your Sonos system into a mix with your smart home tech. Yonomi has so many integrations that the possibilities are pretty endless.
Having a party? Then create a Routine called ‘party time’ that, when you say, “Hey Google, activate party time,” fires up your six hour '80s disco-mix playlist on your Sonos Play:5, sets your Lifx bulbs to a strobe effect and turns the Nest Thermostat down to a cooler temperature.
Or, if it’s bedtime, create a ‘bedtime’ Routine that, when activated, turns off all the downstairs Philips Hue lights and turns on the landing light, activates the Wemo Motion Sensor and locks up your August.
Alexa in the mix
All of the above is also possible via Alexa, as the Echo range are all Yonomi compatible as well. However, unless you are doing mixed routines, you’re probably best to stick to native Sonos and Alexa integration for your music control.