Sonos speakers have typically rocked our Ratings, and its new, lowest-priced speaker, the Play:1, is no exception. If you need another reason to like the company's Wi-Fi speakers systems, here it is: Google Play Music is now directly supporting Sonos within its app.
That means you can now send music that's playing on your Android phone or tablet directly to one or more Sonos speakers in your house—without missing a beat.
The other good news: Sonos is also rolling out new Android and iOs apps that feature a redesigned, simpler interface and universal search that lets you find an artist or song across all your music services.
According to Sonos, Google Play is the 32nd music service available for its service in the U.S. That includes just about every major one we know of, including Amazon Cloud Player, Beats Music, Deezer, iTunes, Pandora, Rhapsody/Napster, Songza, and Spotify.
To find the right wireless speakers, check out our Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speaker Ratings.
With the addition of Google Play Music's baked-in support of Sonos, you don't need to use the Sonos Controller app, though that still does need to be installed on your mobile device. (And you'll need it to stream from other services, such as iTunes.) Instead, you use the Google Play music app to "cast" a song from your Android phone or tablet to one or more Sonos speakers in your system, provided they're on the same Wi-Fi network. You just press the casting icon in the upper right-hand corner of the Google Play Music app, and then select the speaker you want to use.
Getting Google Play to show up on your Sonos Controller app is also straightforward: Just select "More Music" from within your Sonos app, and then add Google Play Music, and you'll be prompted to either verify your account or create one. Basically you use the Google Play Music app when you want to play music directly from your phone or tablet, or the Sonos app when you want to access all your music services.
Sonos is also debuting a new interface, which will be rolled out next month, though some Android users can get a beta version now. Sonos will be updating its desktop controller app later this year. The new interface uses three main modules for navigation: the music currently playing, the room it’s playing in, and for finding the next song you want. But the major benefit is a universal search capability that lets you search for tracks across multiple services.
We've been fans of the Sonos system, especially as less-expensive speakers have been added. We'll continue to test new models as they're introduced, and take a look at the newest features and updates as they're released.
—James K. Willcox
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