Sonos said that Google is blocking the company from including support for multiple voice assistants on its smart speaker lineup. Sonos was reportedly working on a system known as “Concurrency,” which would allow speakers to handle multiple voice assistants at once.
Supporting multiple voice assistants would allow users to switch between two voice assistants using only a voice command. A report by The Washington Post (via) quotes Sonos’ internal demonstration of the Concurrency feature. The report added that Sonos was testing the Concurrency system on Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
Amazon is seemingly on board with the idea of multiple voice assistants running concurrently
“We subscribe to the thought that voice assistants should be interoperable,” Amazon’s Senior VP, Devices and Service, David Limp, was quoted as saying. This makes it clear that Amazon was on board with Sonos’ Concurrency system for voice assistants.
Google spokesperson José Castañeda issued a statement after Sonos’ allegations went public.
“Google is committed to making the smart home ecosystem more interoperable and open. To do this, we drove the creation of an industry working group alongside other tech companies to address interoperability and develop common standards that will give consumers more choice, protect their privacy and create easy-to-use experiences. We are one of the most active members of this group.”
“Interoperability will continue to be a priority for us, but we also want to ensure users have a positive experience using our products and that we protect their privacy,” the statement went on to say.
Sonos hasn’t commented on Google’s response as of yet. But it’s clear that the interoperability of voice assistants on smart speakers is still some distance away.
This is not the first time that the two companies have been at loggerheads. Sonos previously said that Google copied its multi-room speaker technology. However, Google denied the claims. Moreover, the company could be developing a voice assistant of its own, according to a report this August.
Sonos originally filed a federal lawsuit against Google in January 2020. The company said at the time that Google infringed on five patents related to speaker technology. Sonos also said that Google stole some of the technology it shared as part of a previous partnership.