Lawsuit lost! Google must remove function from devices

Because Google infringed on patents held by audio manufacturer Sonos, the company must now remove features from many of its products.

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has found that Google infringes five patents held by audio manufacturer Sonos. The authority thus confirms a court ruling from August 2021 and prohibits Google from importing products that infringe Sonos’ patents. Affected are smart speakers from the Google Nest, respectively Google Home product line. However, the company has already reacted and simply deactivated the corresponding functions without further ado in order to comply with the USITC ruling.

Google Home loses important feature

Google has already announced a workaround on the Nest Community blog. However, owners of a smart home system with Google Nest and Google Home speakers will hardly be happy about this. Until now, they could play audio on multiple devices via speaker groups and change the volume for all devices at the same time. That’s no longer possible. Google writes that users will now have to “adjust each speaker individually instead of using the group volume controls.” In addition, it is now no longer possible to control the group volume with the volume buttons on the smartphone or tablet.

There is also already a notice on the Google Nest support page that voice commands such as “Hey Google, volume 50 percent” only apply to the speaker that is currently listening. Previously, it was possible to use these commands to set the volume for an entire group – such as in the living room or kitchen.

Also interesting: Smart devices that can be controlled with Google Home

Owners of Google Home-compatible speakers could run into problems

But that is not all. Because smart speakers from third-party providers that access Google Home and the “Cast” function are also affected by the ruling. If devices from providers such as JBL and Lenovo are part of a speaker group, users must ensure that the Cast firmware is at least at version 1.52.272222 is updated. The firmware version can be found in the Google Home app under the device information.

In a few cases, users also need to download the “Device Utility” app from the Google Play Store. This can be used to set up and update certain products. Those who have an affected device in their smart home should automatically receive a message to install the app, according to Google.

Sources

  • Google Nest Community Blog
  • Google Nest Help
  • The Verge