What you need to know
- Google Nest devices are now limited to a single speaker group at a time, though existing speaker groups will not be affected.
- This change is likely due to a recent legal decision, possibly related to Sonos' patent lawsuit against Google.
- A number of older Nest devices may still be able to join multiple speaker groups.
Google has confirmed that a recent court ruling means you can't play your Nest devices in multiple rooms at the same time.
A Nest Community manager said in a forum post that many of your favorite Google Assistant speakers from Nest will be limited to only one speaker group in the Google Home app at a time due to "a recent legal decision" (via 9to5Google). That said, existing speaker groups will not be affected.
This means that if you have a Nest Mini in the kitchen and a Nest Audio in the living room, you can't group them together so that you can play the same music in both rooms at the same time. If you want to try your luck, you'll see an error message instead. The Nest devices affected by this limitation are the following:
- Google Nest Mini (2nd gen)
- Google Nest Audio
- Chromecast with Google TV (4K)
- Chromecast with Google TV (HD)
- Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)
- Google Nest Hub Max
- Google Nest Wifi point
- Pixel Tablet (Hub Mode)
Even though the community post did not mention a specific legal squabble, this change is presumably part of Google and Sonos' ongoing patent dispute. The latter has accused Google of infringing on its patents related to multi-room audio technology.
Early last year, Google changed how you can control the volume of a smart speaker group in compliance with a ruling from the International Trade Commission in favor of Sonos. As a result, customers were forced to adjust the volume on each Nest and Cast-enabled speaker.
The latest concession is a bummer for Nest users, but it's not the end of the world. You can technically change which speaker group a Nest device is in whenever you want, but it's probably going to get annoying to do that all the time.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.