Free software update finally adds Google Assistant support to a pair of Sonos speakers
While Amazon is widely considered the pioneer of the booming smart speaker market, having released the first Echo model way back in 2014, it took an additional five years for a similarly ambitious US company to accomplish a goal it reportedly had from the get-go.
As promised last week (not to mention back in January), the Sonos One wireless speaker and Sonos Beam soundbar are ready to double down on their voice-controlled functionality with a free software update enabling Google Assistant support. The two high-quality audio products already worked with Alexa, but today's enhancement naturally makes them smarter and more convenient to use for even more people.
Sonos is the very first brand to combine native support for multiple AI-based voice assistants on the same sound system, a feat celebrated by highlighting the "power of an open, multi-partner platform that prioritizes choice for customers." To that end, the company is exemplifying essentially the simplest use case where having both Alexa and Google Assistant just one voice command away could come in handy. Namely, you can start a song with Google's AI on your Beam soundbar in the living room and ask Alexa on your Sonos One in the kitchen what's playing. Or vice versa.
Generally speaking, you can try to leverage the strengths of both these incredibly popular services, as well as switch back and forth between them to decide which one fits your specific needs best. Ultimately, this is a matter of flexibility and convenience, and it's something other audio-specialized companies should think about adopting.
All that being said, it's important to point out the Google Assistant-activating software update is only available in the US starting now, heading for the UK, Germany, Canada, Australia, France, and The Netherlands in July, followed by "additional countries" over the "coming months." After receiving the update, you just need to open your Sonos app and access "Voice Services" under settings, where you'll be guided through a very simple Google Assistant setup process.
Once that's completed, you can ask your new digital assistant to handle many different tasks, from music streaming (duh) to delivering news and podcasts, managing tasks, answering questions from around the web, and controlling a wide range of smart home devices.