Sonos has acquired Snips, a privacy-focused AI voice platform based in Paris. The $37.5 million acquisition will help make the voice experience on Sonos “even better.”
The press release announcing the acquisition says the deal is worth $37.5 million. The deal officially closed on November 14th. All 50 of Snips’ current employees and all intellectual property is included in the deal. Sonos smart speakers are already compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The Snips acquisition will help create more natural control for customers. This line, taken from their Q4 letter to their shareholders paints a pretty good picture.
“We are not looking to replicate what general-purpose voice assistants offer. Instead, we’ll be enhancing customer choice, ease of use and control, and privacy.
This tailored experience aligns with external research showing that the most popular use for voice assistants is to access music.”
Sonos wants easy-to-use tailored voice controls for music with no privacy concerns. Snips uses proprietary technology to offer on-device voice processing — no always-on speaker recording to give customers privacy concerns.
“Its full-stack solution is built with proprietary technology allowing for voice processing on the device. This localized processing maximizes accuracy, efficiency, and privacy while minimizing footprint and cloud dependency.”
While smart speakers from Amazon and Google provide convenience, many consumers are wary of trusting them.
Google recently announced a deal with Fitbit worth $2.1 billion that has been heavily scrutinized. Many customers are choosing to sell their devices and switch to Apple Watch over privacy concerns.
Snips seems like a springboard to offer a product with voice controls without other assistants built-in. After all, most people who use smart speakers enjoy the convenience of voice controls mostly to play their music. Every smart speaker manufacturer grew this quarter — except Google.