Your Google home speakers are getting a little worse because Sonos sued and won

If you have multiple Google smart speakers in your home, you may want to be aware of a particular legal ruling as it affects how your speaker groups work. After the US International Trade Commission ruled that it infringed Sonos’ patents, Google has already announced software fixes, including the “need to adjust each speaker individually instead of using the group volume control”, and that users will no longer be able to will be able to control the volume of a speaker group with their phone’s volume knob. It attributes this change to “a recent legal decision,” which you can read all about here.

When news of the patent decision became known, Google told The edge it had gotten non-infringing designs approved by the ITC. However, Sonos warned that Google may need to “degrade or eliminate product features” to meet the requirements, and it certainly appears to be happening. We didn’t necessarily expect it to roll out so quickly, given that Google has 60 days to bring its devices into compliance.

The changes seem like a pretty big downgrade to Google’s multi-room audio feature, which lets you sync speakers together and play them all at once. For example, instead of being able to say “hey Google, set the volume to 40 percent on the Living Room speakers,” you’ll need to change the volume for each speaker using the assistant, the Google Home app, or a Nest Hub display. .

Google also says that “a small group of users” should use a specific app to set up and update their smart devices, and Google is warning users that if their speaker group contains products from other manufacturers, they may need to be updated to the latest firmware. to continue functioning as part of that speaker group. Google ends its blog post saying it will “work to minimize any additional changes.”