Google Play Music is today adding native support for Sonos, letting Android users stream songs to the hi-fi speaker systems more easily. The ability to send music directly to the popular speakers is now baked right in, eliminating the need to use Sonos' Controller app. Google Play Music is the first major service to offer this level of built-in Sonos integration, and it was achieved thanks to a tight collaboration between the two companies. "As we continue to invest in the way you experience and control your music at home, curating and managing an array of services across multiple rooms, the benefits of playing your music to Sonos directly from these very services is clear," Sonos said in a blog post. "We’ve created a music experience that shows how media, devices, and sound can seamlessly work together in the home."
Your Android device will still need to be on the same Wi-Fi network as the Sonos hardware, and Google notes that you'll need Sonos' Controller app installed — even if you won't be using it to control the music. Once those two requirements are met, all it takes is hitting the casting icon in the upper right corner of Google Play Music and choosing which speaker you want the music to come out of. If you've got a multi-room setup with multiple Sonos devices, you'll be given the option to pick between them. If you do for some reason prefer using Sonos Controller to handle playback, Google Play Music will now show up as one of many supported services there.
That's important, since unfortunately it seems as though native Sonos support will be exclusive to Android for now. Google says it takes advantage of Android-specific features, so you won't be streaming to Sonos with Google Play Music for iOS — at least not yet. But since the service now shows up in Sonos Controller, iOS users have a way to listen. It might not be as pretty as Google's own app, but everything you'd expect from Play Music ("I'm feeling lucky" radio, library access, etc.) is there.
The big question is whether other streaming services will eventually join in. If Sonos can pull off similar deals with Pandora, Rdio, or Beats Music, that would be a major win. It's unclear if Spotify would have any interest, since it's already got a Sonos-like platform to push. What we can say today is that if you've already bought into Sonos and your music library rests with Google, things just got much easier.