What you need to know
- Google announced new changes to its smart speaker group volume controls after a legal ruling.
- Customers will have to adjust the volume on each Nest and Cast-enabled speaker instead of using the group volume controller.
- The changes are in response to the International Trade Commission's recent patent infringement ruling in favor of Sonos.
Google's feature that lets you control the volume of multiple smart speakers in your house at the same time is coming to an end. Following the U.S. International Trade Commission's patent ruling in favor of Sonos, the search giant announced that it's changing how you can adjust the volume of Nest and Cast-enabled speakers.
If you own multiple models of Google's best smart speakers at home such as the Nest Audio or Nest Mini, controlling their volume is getting a bit cumbersome. Google said in a Nest community blog post that you'll no longer be able to use the group volume controller to adjust the volume on your speaker groups. Instead, you'll have to do it one at a time for each speaker.
These changes apply when "you're using the Speaker Group feature to control the volume in the Google Home app, by voice with the Google Assistant, or directly on your Nest Hub display," the Google Nest team said in the post.
The new workaround comes after the ITC ruled that Google technology infringed on Sonos-owned patents in Nest and Chromecast devices. This affects Nest speakers, Chromecast devices, and Google Pixel smartphones.
In addition, the ruling bars users from adjusting a speaker group's volume using their phone's volume rocker. Google also warned users that if their speaker group includes products from other brands such as JBL and Lenovo, they must update to the latest Cast firmware version 1.52.272222 or higher. Otherwise, the speaker groups will carry on as usual.
Setting up your speakers will also get a little more unwieldy, as Google will require users to "use the 'Device Utility app' (DUA) to complete product installation and updates."
Google promised to "minimize any additional changes," but the new announcement is already a major disappointment for people who used to sync their speakers together using the multi-room audio adjustment feature.
The new Nest Audio, a sleek successor to a much-loved device, offers better sound and more color than the Nest Mini.
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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.