Exclusive: Sonos is about to introduce its own voice assistant

Sonos is preparing to introduce its own voice assistant service within the next few weeks, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. The audio functionality will allow customers to play and control music on your Sonos entire home audio system.

It will be part of an upcoming software update set to first reach US customers on June 1, to be followed by an international rollout. Sonos Voice will serve as a replacement for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which Sonos already supports on smart speakers and voice-enabled speakers. All Sonos products running the company’s S2 software will support Sonos Voice Control.

Sonos was recently published Job opportunities related to “Sonos Voice Experience .”,” with the company saying its ambition is to “make voice interactions entirely private, more personal, and more natural.” “The debut of Sonos Voice will mark a pivotal moment in Sonos’ expansion of services as the company seeks to increase its hardware business.” (Sonos Radio, Higher Quality Driven Radio Sonos HD It was the first of these campaigns in the Services.) The offering will offer basic amenities similar to existing competitors, allowing Sonos product owners to play selected songs, artists or playlists with voice commands, among other functions.

At launch, Sonos Voice will work with Apple Music, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and the company’s Sonos Radio. Spotify and YouTube Music from Google are not yet in use. In keeping with Sonos’ concern for privacy, the feature will not record user voice commands or transmit them to the cloud for processing. “Hey Sonos” will be the wake-up call for Sonos Voice Control, and the company’s internal tests show it’s faster than competing ancillary services on basic music tasks.

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Sonos declined to comment for this story, citing its policy of not commenting on rumors or speculation. But through the various job listings of the audio producer and “home theater operating systemThe company offered a glimpse into the future as it will focus more on software and try to establish itself as a central hub for streaming entertainment – ​​potentially going beyond audio to integrating video as well. Patrick Spence, CEO of Sonos, hinted at these goals in interviews. He said, “You always invest before the curve The untie audio notation. “We’re hiring software people to go into new areas that we’re not in today. It’s easier in hindsight to understand that the company is working on all these great things. We just haven’t seen it at that moment in time.”

Voice services have been a sticking point in Sonos’ feud with big tech companies including Google and Amazon. two years ago, Spence told US lawmakers Google refused to allow its Assistant service to run at the same time as a competing Amazon product on the same device. Spence said Amazon wasn’t tied down. Sonos, Google, and Amazon continue to work together as partners despite Sonos accusing both publicly Unfair pricing tactics And Patent infringement; You have successfully sued Google over the latter, Force minor changes To play multi-room audio and volume controls in some Google programs.

Sonos’ development of its own audio feature wasn’t exactly a kept secret. The company has shown interest in customer surveys, and last year, early details about the service were discovered in the Sonos mobile app (As noted here protocol). At the time, screenshots indicated that it would be possible to use the Sonos voice service in tandem with Alexa, with customers being able to use either by speaking the respective alert word. But the images showed that Google Assistant and Sonos voice displays cannot be paired in the same way — another sign of Google’s tight control over how and where its services are used. Blogger Carsten Knobloch was recently published Some additional screenshots of Sonos Voicebut its release date and supported services were not previously reported.

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Sonos Voice Experience will stick to the basics at launch. But if people are able to use Alexa at the same time — Sonos calls this feature “voice synchronization” — they will be able to give Sonos a chance without sacrificing smart home integration or other miscellaneous features that Sonos voice service might offer a few.

Sonos’ stated goal of making voice “completely private” could be another major way to differentiate it from Alexa and Google Assistant, both of which rely heavily on cloud computing. Amazon says Alexa is built with “multiple layers of privacy and security,” and Google offers similar guarantees. But some consumers remain inherently wary of audio and big tech Use of voice interactions for advertising purposes.

Last month , the edge I mentioned that Sonos’ upcoming new hardware product is a budget speaker of around $250. this device , Sonos RayIt will also be announced in the coming weeks. Unlike the company’s more expensive Arc and Beam speakers, it won’t have built-in microphones for voice control.

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