The ongoing legal fight between Sonos and Google took a huge turn yesterday as the United States International Trade Commission ruled in favor of Sonos. The US trade court declared that Google violated five Sonos patents pertaining to smart speakers. While it remains to be seen how this ruling will affect future Nest products, Google has confirmed it will be rolling out various workarounds (read dropping features) across the ruling-affected products to circumvent Sonos patents. To that end, Googles says it will be removing a few features from the Nest devices, including the Speaker Group volume control.
In a recent blog post, Google has outlined changes that will affect how you set up your Nest device and adjust the volume of your speaker groups.
“Due to a recent legal ruling, we’re making some changes to how you set up your devices and the Speaker Group functionality will work moving forward. If 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, you’ll notice a few changes,” said Google in a blog post.
First of all, Google is removing the Speaker Group volume. This was a convenient feature that allowed users to adjust the volume for an entire speaker group using a single volume controller. Google now says users must adjust the volume of each speaker individually. In addition, Nest speaker owners will also not be able to change Speaker Group volume using their phone’s physical volume keys anymore. We have already seen Google removing the Cast volume slider in Android 12, only to bring it back for some Pixel phones in the latest update.
Moreover, Google says “a small set of users” will have to install a separate app called “Device Utility app” (DUA) to set up their Nest devices and receive software updates. Users will receive a prompt to download the app and “it will ensure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi and receives the most updated software version.”
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