How to control Sonos with Google Assistant

All you need to know about getting GA working with your Sonos speakers

How to control Sonos with Google Assistant

Google Assistant has finally arrived on Sonos speakers, making the Sonos One and Beam the first dual-assistant smart speakers to market, with Alexa already live on both – although you can't have them running at the same time. You're going to have to choose your champion, but you can mix and match assistants across your Sonos speakers in the home, and have them intertwine smoothly.

The good news is that Google Assistant is pretty functional on Sonos. It's missing a few features, like voice calling and broadcasting, but for the most part you can treat your Sonos speakers like Google Home devices.

How to control Sonos with Google Assistant

If you have an older Sonos speaker, like the Play:1 or Play:5, in your system, the update also means you can control them using Assistant on the One or Beam, or via connected Google Home speakers. But, first up, we're going to focus on getting Google Assistant live on the enabled speakers.

If you do have older Sonos speakers, scroll down to read about how you can still get in on the Google Assistant action using a Yonomi-flavoured workaround.

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How to enable Google Assistant on Sonos

1. Make sure you have the Google Assistant app downloaded on iPhone or Android. Also make sure the app is up-to-date by heading to Settings > System Updates. We've found new updates occasionally appear here before they're visible in the app store, so best to check here first.

2. Open the Sonos app and select the More tab.
3. Select Voice Services.
4. Choose Google Assistant and tap Add to Sonos.
5. Select the room(s) you want to add Google Assistant to.
6. You'll be redirected to the Google Assistant app, where you'll need to sign in.
7. When asked, give Google control permissions, select your default music service etc.
8. Repeat for the next speaker, if you wish to add to more than one.

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How to switch between voice assistants

While you can't have Alexa and Google Assistant running simultaneously, it's easy to switch between them. Here's how.

1. Open the Sonos app and select the More tab.
2. Select Voice Services.
3. Just tap the other assistant.

See? Easy. Even better, each assistant will remember your settings, which will mean less messing about if you change your mind and decide to go back to Alexa.

What you can't do

While Assistant is plenty fleshed out on Sonos, there are still some limitations. Some of these will go away in time, but for now here's what you're missing with Assistant on Sonos.

You can’t voice call or use Broadcast mode

Google has a handful of features it tends to keep to its first-party devices, and these won't be available on Sonos, at least not to start with. This includes voice calling, Broadcast mode and Continued Conversations. Google told The Ambient that Voice Match will come "sooner rather than later", while Sonos is promising Continued Conversations, Broadcast mode and support for multiple voices in the future.

You can’t ‘duck’ across assistants

Ducking between assistants won’t work, so if you ask Google a question then all speakers, including those running Alexa, will dim the volume.

You can't set routines from the Google Home app

Again, this one should be coming soon.

You can't start playing from rival exclusive music services

You can’t have Alexa start playing from a music service that only Google supports – or vice versa – but when a song is playing, either assistant can skip tracks or tell you what’s playing. The Sonos app works as a metadata halfway house, sharing song and artist information across the platforms.


How to use Yonomi to control older Sonos speakers

Just because your Sonos setup is missing a Beam or a One, it doesn't mean you're faced with life without Google Assistant. The first thing to do, if you haven’t already, is create an account with Yonomi. Yonomi is a fantastic 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.

Guide: Everything you need to know about Yonomi

Pairing Sonos with Yonomi is a doddle thanks to its Works With Sonos certification. 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.

Next, 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 work with.

Get used to saying “turn on” or “activate”, though, because that’s how you get the Yonomi Routines working with Google Assistant. Simply saying “play” will just kick Google into native mode, so 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.”

How to control Sonos with Google Assistant

Limitations of Yonomi

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 they're far from perfect. There are plenty of flaws within the new system. Here’s the biggest bone we can pick…

– Volume. There's no up or down, it's just possible to activate a set level. 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 volume.



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