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Is Sonos cooking up its own voice assistant? Survey says: maybe

A customer survey from Sonos asks users if they’d be interested in a “Hey Sonos” voice assistant that sits directly on Sonos speakers, no cloud required.

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For now, if you want to ask your Sonos speakers to tee up a playlist, you’ll need to ask either Alexa or Google Assistant. But a recent customer survey from Sonos suggests a new possibility: saying “Hey, Sonos” instead.

As Voicebot.ai reports, a Sonos user on Reddit said they'd received a survey from the company that (among many other items) asked whether they’d be interested in “Sonos Voice Control,” a potential Sonos voice assistant that would allow for “quick, easy, and private control designed for Sonos by Sonos.”

As described in the survey (you can see a screenshot here), the proposed voice assistant would respond to a “Hey Sonos” wake word, and all voice processing would be done locally rather than in the cloud, which means responses could be faster while keeping your voice requests private.

Beyond speed and privacy, an on-speaker Sonos voice assistant wouldn’t need an internet connection, allowing you to use voice commands on the portable, Bluetooth-enabled Sonos Move and Roam speakers.

Reached for comment, a Sonos rep confirmed the authenticity of the survey but didn't reveal any additional details. "We regularly put product and experience concepts in front of our customers to better understand what is important to them. We don't have anything further to share at this time," the spokesperson said.

The survey goes on to note that Sonos Voice Control could work “alongside” Alexa rather than replacing it. That said, the survey makes no mention of a Sonos voice assistant playing nice with Google Assistant.

The omission of Google Assistant is telling, given Sonos’s ongoing lawsuit against Google for allegedly stealing its speaker technology (although Amazon hasn’t escaped Sonos’s ire, either). The bitter spat may be one of the reasons that Sonos wants a voice assistant of its own.

Before we get too ahead of ourselves here, we should note that companies send out surveys all the time gauging interest in products that never actually come to market. In other words, don’t count on Sonos Voice Control landing on your Sonos One just because a survey hinted at it.

That said, Sonos did acquire Snips, an AI voice platform that “provides private-by-design voice technology,” back in 2019. So if Sonos did want to build its own voice assistant, it certainly has the means to do it.

Updated shortly after publication to add a comment from Sonos.

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