In the technology market, patents are an absolute headache and cause a lot of litigation between companies. Conflicts between companies are so common that the vast majority go unnoticed and we only know their effects when they affect users. This is the case with the latest lawsuit between Google and Sonos concerning the Google Home smart speakers.

The news comes after the United States International Trade Commission ruled that Google has indeed committed a patent infringement that affects Sonos on the one hand, and the consequences of which will be seen on the side of users of Google speakers. current functionalities: centralized volume control for several speaker systems.

Multiple teams, individual volumes

With Google Home speakers, as with other brands of audio devices, it is possible to create a network so that several work at the same time. Not only to have speakers throughout the home or office, but also to create stereo, 5.1 and similar equipment based on the accumulation of speakers that work in a coordinated fashion with each other.

Once we have created one of these multiple teams, it is possible to control the volume centrally so that they all work at the same time. Or at least that was possible so far because a court ruled that the system Google used to perform this function had infringed a Sonos patent for its own speakers. And that will force Google to disable this option until it develops a proprietary system to do so.

Google itself is already warning through the Nest community website that changes are going to occur in how their devices work. The statement reads as follows:

Hello everyone. Due to a recent legal ruling, we are making some changes to the way you set up your devices and the speaker group functionality will work in the future. If you use 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 screen, you’ll notice a few changes: 1. To adjust the volume to your speaker groups, you will need to set each speaker individually instead of using the group volume controller. You will also not be able to change the volume of your speaker group with the physical volume button on your phone. 2. Most speaker groups should continue to function as intended, unless you have a speaker group that contains other brands of Cast devices, such as JBL or Lenovo, they should have ‘Cast firmware version 1.52. 272222 or higher. See this article for instructions on how to find the firmware version for your device, or contact your device manufacturer. 3. A small group of users will need to use “Device Utility Application” (DUA) to complete product installation and updates. You may receive a prompt to download and run DUA, and it will make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and receives the most updated software version. We will continue to support our users and work to minimize any further changes. Thank you. The Google Nest team.

Google says that if we have an individual speaker, or if we use multiple speakers that don’t work as a coordinated team, we won’t notice any changes in the next firmware released by the Nest team. But if we use this coordinated listening with several teams, we will have to access the “Device Utility App”. In short, you will have to control the volume of the speakers individually. At least, as they say, until Google develops an alternative method for it.

Via | Google Nest Community