Sonos wins lawsuit against Google: Nest and Home speakers will lose functionality due to patent infringement

In the technology market, patents are an absolute headache and cause many disputes between companies. Conflicts between companies are so frequent that the vast majority go under the radar and we only know their effects when they affect users. This is the case of the latest lawsuit between Google and Sonos over the Google Home smart speakers.

The news comes after the United States International Trade Commission has ruled that, indeed, Google has committed a patent infringement that affects Sonos on the one hand, and whose consequences will be seen on the side of the users of Google speakers. Home will lose one of the current functionalities: centralized volume control for multiple 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 accumulating speakers that operate in a coordinated way with each other.

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

Google itself already warns through the Nest community website that changes are going to occur in the operation of their devices. The statement reads as follows:

Hi all. Due to a recent legal decision, we are making some changes to the way you configure your devices and the functionality of the Speaker Group will work in the future. If you are 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 screen, you will notice some changes: 1. To adjust the volume on your speaker groups, you will need to adjust 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. two.Most speaker groups should still work as expected unless you have a speaker group that contains other brands of Cast-based devices, such as JBL or Lenovo, they must have Cast firmware version 1.52.272222 or higher. Check out this article on how to find your device’s firmware version or contact your device manufacturer. 3.A small group of users will need to use the ‘Device Utility Application’ (DUA) to complete product installation and updates. You may get a prompt to download and run DUA, and it will make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi and receives the most up-to-date software version. We will continue to support our users and work to minimize any additional changes. Thank you. Google Nest team.

Google indicates that if we have an individual speaker, or if we use several speakers that do not work as a coordinated team, we will not notice changes in the next firmware released by the Nest team. But if we use this coordinated listening with multiple teams, we will have to go to the ‘Device Utility App’. In short, we will have to control the volume of the speakers individually. At least, as we say, until Google develops an alternative method for it.

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