New Sonos Document Suggests Speaker With Microphones for Voice Control Is on Its Way

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Courtesy of Sonos

Sonos may be getting ready to introduce a new internet-connected loudspeaker with integrated microphones for voice control: The company introduced some crucial changes to its privacy policy Thursday that lay the legal groundwork for speakers with integrated voice control.

The new policy reads, in part: “Voice control works by your voice enabled Sonos Product ‘listening’ for a specific wake word. Please note that not all Sonos Products are voice enabled.”

The policy continues to describe how microphones on voice-enabled Sonos products will continuously monitor the ambient noise for such voice words without retaining or transmitting any voice recordings — which is essentially how Amazon’s Echo speaker works. “You are notified that it is recording by a visual indicator such as a light on the Product,” the policy states.

These upcoming Sonos speakers will share more than just basic functionality with Amazon’s Echo speaker. The devices will also be able to make use of Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant, as well as possibly other voice assistants. “The actual recording of your voice command is then sent to the voice partner you have authorized to receive such recording (for example, Amazon).”

Sonos has long been planning to add voice control to its speakers with the help of Amazon’s Echo, allowing Echo owners to control their Sonos speakers with the help of Amazon’s smart speaker, much in the same way that Echo owners can also control compatible internet-connected light bulbs and thermostats. A private beta test for the feature is currently underway.

However, a Sonos spokesperson confirmed to Variety that the new privacy policy goes further, and also covers Sonos-made speakers with integrated mics: “It covers those things that we’ve already talked about like Alexa integration, currently in private beta. It also covers future voice experiences like additional voice assistants and any future products with integrated microphones.”

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence also told Variety earlier this year that his company would ultimately make speakers with integrated microphones. The updated privacy policy seems to suggest that these products will be coming sooner rather than later.

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