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Google restricts Nest speakers after feud with Sonos

Google restricts Nest speakers after feud with Sonos

In the smart audio category, Sonos is among the big names, an American company that has been specializing in wireless speaker systems since the early 2000s. They are famous for their systems with multiroom streaming, where several wireless amplifiers form a network. In this way, they can be controlled together or individually to play sounds in several rooms at the same time.

Sonos is not alone in providing solutions multiroom streaming. It’s widely used in many smart speakers and voice assistants, including Google Nest devices that work very similarly with the Speaker Kits feature. However, Sonos owns several patents in technology for controlling and configuring wireless speakers. In 2020, they sued Google for copying technology “obviously and knowingly” with the aim of getting Google to pay licensing fees. Now, the US FTC has issued a ruling in favor of Sonos and Google has been found guilty of the unauthorized use of several patents.

Google now has 60 days to solve the problem. They are forced to stop importing products they manufacture abroad, and they are prohibited from continuing to sell already imported products that infringe Sonos patents. Since Google does not appear to be willing to pay the licensing fee to Sonos, it will be in the form of software modifications. In a new update, they instead implemented a series of cuts for many devices, removing the functionality of the entire Google Nest series, among other things.

I Blog post Google announces that it will, among other things, remove the feature that makes it possible to increase and decrease the volume of all devices in the “speaker group” at the same time. Users must now instead raise and lower them individually. In addition, the function that makes it possible to control the volume for groups directly using the phone’s volume buttons disappears.

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The changes are not well received in the blog post’s comment field, with about a hundred users feeling annoyed with a downgrade. It is not clear if the jobs will return at a later time.

source: Ars TechnicaAnd Bloomberg

Do you use Google Speakers or the Speaker Collection feature on your Google Home?