Google Assistant on the SONOS One means you have to leave Alexa behind

When SONOS first announced the SONOS One speakers, they announced the microphones would interact with a number of voice assistants. While Amazon’s Alexa was supported out of the box, Google Assistant was always promised, but more than a year went by.

Now Google Assistant is finally available for the SONOS One and after having enabled it, we need to talk about the experience.

Setting up Assistant on Sonos One is fairly straight forward, not unlike the process for Alexa. Just dive into the SONOS mobile app, head to the More tab and select Voice Services. You’ll now have the option to add Google Assistant. After going through the process of authenticating with your Google Account (this allows for calendar access, your voice profile etc).

Something I wasn’t expecting, mainly because SONOS hadn’t highlighted it, was that you have to choose one or the other voice assistant, you can’t have both. When SONOS One was announced and both platforms were announced and I think it’s a reasonable assumption that you’d be able to enable both and to simply use the different wake works to activate.

Instead of having the ability to enable both Voice Assistants, you have to choose Alexa or Google Assistant. Of course, you can switch whenever you want, but given it’ll take a minute or two to reauthenticate, its unlikely something you’ll do frequently.

With that issue addressed, its time to talk about how Google Assistant is with the SONOS One. I recently installed the iSmartGate Garage Door opener and have it configured to use Google Assistant. This means I can now open and close the garage door using my voice from my living room.

Like when I started turning the TV on and off using voice as I walked out the door (often with a 1yo in my arms), to add the capability of controlling the garage door as well, just makes life easier.

My Calendar lives in Google, so while Alexa was useful, Google Assistant is actually more useful as it integrates with my accounts and my life better. When I as for my commute time, Google knows my home and work addresses, so Assistant can deliver an immediate response and even show the commute route on my phone.

Google Assistant also offers far better multi-step conversations than Alexa. I’ve been using Alexa most days for years now and its very much a 1 question, 1 answer conversation. Assistant is context aware, that is it builds on the information it already knows from your conversation and builds its responses from there – smart. This feels much more like you’re talking to a human, which means you’ll likely to do it more often.

On the surface, two similar voice assistants sound like the same thing on the SONOS One, but when you break it down, Google Assistant certainly works better for me.

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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