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
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Google Assistant arrived on Sonos speakers last year, offering users more choice in their smart home set up.

The Sonos One, Sonos Beam, Sonos Arc and Move are the first dual-voice assistant smart speakers to market, with Alexa also alive and well on the range.

You're going to have to choose your champion, as you can't mix and match assistants across your Sonos speakers in the home and have them intertwine smoothly.

However, the good news is that Google Assistant is pretty functional on Sonos, giving you not only control of your music, but voice commands for your smart home devices too.

Sure, it's missing a few features, like voice calling and broadcasting, but for the most part you can treat your Sonos speakers like Google Nest and Nest Hub devices.

You can also now set a Sonos as a default Google Assistant speaker as well.

enable Google Assistant on Sonos

How to enable Google Assistant on Sonos

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's Assistant live on the enabled speakers.

Incoming: New features for Google Home coming in 2020

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.

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.

How to switch between Google and Alexa

While you can't have Alexa and Google Assistant running simultaneously, it's easy to switch between the two leading smart home voice assistants. 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 with Google Assistant on Sonos

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 voice 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 voice 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 set a Sonos as a default Google Assistant speaker

So this nifty feature means you can use your Assistant speaker as usual, but when you ask for music, it plays from the Sonos. You can also choose to have a Sonos speaker as the default playback device from your Nest Hub, Google Home and other Assistant devices.

1. To set this up go to your Google Assistant device in the Google Home app and choose Device settings (using the cog in the top corner).

2. Select Default music speaker.

3. Choose your Sonos speaker from the list.

Check out the rest of our Google Assistant guides - including the best Google Home compatible devices.

Use Yonomi to control older Sonos speakers

Just because your Sonos setup is missing a Beam, Move, Arc 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.

More Google Assistant how-to guides

TAGGED    google home    sonos

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