Sonos launches voice assistant, but it won’t rival Alexa

Sonos has finally unveiled Voice Control, a voice assistant that will let you control your Sonos speakers with (you guessed it) your voice.

Voice commands aren’t new to Sonos speakers – the Sonos One has built-in Google Assistant and Alexa commands and your sound system can pair with external smart speakers to issue commands to them. But now Sonos bills its own voice commands as the best way to control your sound system with verbal instructions.

Ahead of the announcement, TechRadar’s Matt Bolton had the chance to speak with Sonos Head of Product Creation, Brandon Holley, and learned some details about the new feature.

Sonos focuses on privacy first

One of the first things Holley told us about it was that the new system “is no competitor to Alexa.” Voice Control is more about giving Sonos speaker users a quick and easy way to control their setup.

That being said, it will feature one major improvement: better privacy. Voice control won’t pose as much risk to users’ privacy, as Holley explains “we don’t send audio transcriptions to the cloud – it’s all done locally.”

Holley added that the team hopes this will make Sonos speaker owners more comfortable using voice control. Not just because it’s simple to use, but because it doesn’t send your recordings to external Sonos servers.

This follows in the footsteps of previous Sonos speakers in its concern for your privacy – the Sonos One SL ditched the microphone altogether and slashed $50 off the price for people wary of the potential intrusion into their lives. private.

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How it works?

According to Sonos, all products with a microphone dating back to the Sonos One should be able to use the assistant after an update.

To get the assistant’s attention, just say “Hey Sonos” and then ask it to play music from Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, or Pandora. Unfortunately, Spotify is not currently on the list of supported services, but that may change in the future.

While other smart speakers offer a way to access the smart home or an ever-expanding knowledge graph, Sonos wants its voice assistant to focus primarily on getting your music to you as quickly as possible and lets you control that music. An example of a command that the Sonos voice assistant has that other smart speakers lack is that it can move music from one speaker to another or play the song on every speaker in the house. with a simple voice command.

We’ll have to spend a little more time with the platform before we can draw any conclusions, but in a market that’s full of similarly performing Alexa and Google Assistant devices, Sonos will soon have something no one else has. .

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