Good news, over in Vegas at CES 2019 Sonos, once again, confirmed its plans to bring Google Assistant support to its multi-room audio ecosystem.
Bad news, once again Sonos refused to give us an actual launch date - although we do know that some older speakers (i.e. not just the Beam and One) will be compatible too.
Explainer: Sonos with Google Assistant
While we wait, there is another way to control your speakers via Google Home using your voice right now.
And weâre not talking about a clunky workaround using IFTTT or SmartThings â as people have been making do with â weâre 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. Let's get started.
How to use Yonomi to control Sonos
The first thing to do is, if you havenât 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 homeâs 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 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. The app will also list a load of other smart home tech it sees and can control â but ignore that for now, letâs focus on getting Google Assistant controlling your music system.
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. Youâre done. All existing Routines will be available, so itâs not just Sonos controls you can speaketh.
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Sonos x Google Assistant commands
Get used to saying âturn onâ or âactivateâ, because thatâs how you get the Yonomi Routines working with Google Assistant. Simply saying âplayâ will just kick Google into native mode, youâll end up listening to the radio or your playlists through your Google Home speaker or your Android phone. You can also say, âAsk Yonomi toâŚâ but thatâs a bit long winded and not really as natural.
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And donât go thinking you can simply stop the routines â i.e. stop the audio playback â by saying âstopâ or even âturn offâ. Youâll 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, âHey Google, activate The Silence.â
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 in square brackets following the âHey Google, turn on/activateâ part of the example commands are our suggested names for what you could call that Routine.
"Hey Google, play [Favourite]" is very handy one â "Favourite" refers to your favourites from within the Sonos app, i.e. albums or radio stations.
âOk Google, activate [Essex FM].â
âHey Google, activate [the next song].â
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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 itâs far from perfect. There are plenty of flaws within the new system. Hereâs the biggest bones we can pickâŚ
â 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, doesnât actually know that youâre listening to music â it wonât lower the volume on your Sonos so it can hear a command more clearly; which is what happens with the âofficialâ Sonos and Alexa hook-up. Therefore, youâll actually be shouting for the sounds to stop if youâre listening at a loud level.
â No individual songs, unless you add them to favourites and create Routines for them.
â No artist radio and no just randomly shuffling a certain artist.
â Grouping doesnât 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, youâre not going to have that seamless experience. However, as with Alexa and Sonos, it will pick up previous groupings â 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 â in sync â with the other.
An update that arrived earlier this year does address this a bit, and Yonomi states true multi-zone is now supported, although we're yet to experience it.
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 âparty timeâ that, when you say, âHey Google, activate party time,â 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 itâs bedtime, create a âbedtimeâ 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, youâre probably best to stick to native Sonos and Alexa integration for your music control.
More Sonos guides
More Sonos guides
How to set up and use AirPlay 2 with your Sonos speakers
How to add your Apple HomePod smart speaker to your Sonos system
How to use old Sonos speakers for AirPlay 2 multi-room music
How to control Sonos with Google Assistant
How to associate Sonos and Echo speakers and create groups
How to use Sonos and Alexa: Every command you need to know
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More Google Assistant how-to guides
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