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Sonos is adding Voice Control to its speakers, so pleading for everything to stop will actually do something

Giancarlo Esposito from 'Better Call Saul' and 'Breaking Bad' will provide Sonos' launch voice.
By Amanda Yeo  on 
A picture of the Sonos Roam
Sonos Voice Control will give users more options for controlling their speakers. Credit: Sonos

Sonos is introducing voice commands for its speakers, finally letting you start your depression playlist by groaning from the couch as God intended.

Announced today, Sonos Voice Control will arrive in a free software update for all voice-capable Sonos speakers running the Sonos S2 operating system, including the Roam, Beam, Move, and Arc. This update will let you issue oral commands to find specific songs, ask what's playing, control the sound on their TV, and adjust volume and playback all without using your hands.

You won't be able to set timers or reminders, as Sonos Voice Control isn't a fully fledged voice assistant. However if you have more than one Sonos speaker, you will be able to use it to change where your audio is playing. For example, you could ask Sonos to stop playing music in the living room and play it in the bedroom instead, or to only turn up the volume in the bathroom if you need to hide your regularly scheduled shower breakdown.

Sonos' English launch voice will be provided by Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul actor Giancarlo Esposito, with more voices to be added at a later date. It will also understand some more conversational commands such as "turn it up."

Sonos Voice Control will only work with Sonos Radio, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Deezer, and Pandora at launch, though the company plans to add compatibility with more music streaming services at a later date. You'll still be able to use your voice to adjust the volume on your Spotify and Google Music playlists, as well as pause and skip tracks, but asking for a specific song, podcast, or playlist on these platforms is outside Sonos Voice Control's jurisdiction for now.

Of course, as convenient as voice-controlled devices can be, privacy concerns have many people understandably suspicious of such features. As such, Sonos notes that all of its Voice Control processing is done on your device, so no data is transmitted back to the company. 

"No audio or transcript is sent to the cloud, stored, listened to or read by anyone," said Sonos in a press release. 

Sonos Voice Control will start listening when users say the phrase "Hey Sonos," and will continue listening for six seconds after you issue your initial command so you can tack on additional instructions such as "louder" or "skip" without repeating the device's wake words.

Sonos Voice Control will launch in English in the U.S. on June 1, while French capabilities will be rolled out in France later this year. Availability in other regions has not yet been announced.

UPDATE: May. 12, 2022, 10:55 a.m. This article has been updated with exactly how long Sonos Voice Control will keep listening after it's woken.


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