December 10, 2023

Hey Sonos, forget Google and Alexa and turn up the volume

Hey Sonos, forget Google and Alexa and turn up the volume

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(Pocket-lint) Sonos has announced Sonos Voice Control – a dedicated assistant that gives users more control over their Sonos speakers with their voice than Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Sonos Voice Assistant will be available on all Sonos speakers with a microphone. These include Sonos One, Sonos Roam, Sonos Move, Sonos Beam (Gen 1 and Gen 2) and Sonos Arc. But you can also use one of these speakers to control other Sonos speakers.

In response to the words “Hey Sonos,” Sonos Voice Control allows users to use their voice to control a range of functions, from basic volume controls to controlling music playback, to more specialized features such as enabling sound enhancement on a Sonos soundbar or group Sonos speakers.

Unlike Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Sonos voice control assistant works locally on the speaker itself and Sonos says no text is sent to the cloud, so conversations stay private. This also means that the Sonos Voice Control Assistant can be used in the Sonos Roam and Sonos Move to control the speakers even when they are in Bluetooth mode, where an Internet connection is not required.

You can’t use Sonos Voice Control Assistant to control smarthome devices like you can with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, nor can you create a grocery list or check the weather — they’re not designed to compete with Alexa or assistive thinking. Sonos Voice Control Assistant also works only with Amazon Alexa. It will not be possible to use it with the Google Assistant.

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The Sonos voice control assistant will be launched in the US on June 1, followed by France in 2022. It will be voiced by Giancarlo Esposito. A UK launch date has yet to be announced. Once the Assistant is available, it will be rolled out via a software update and you’ll need to add it to your compatible speakers to get started.

Writing from Britta O’Boyle.