If you frequently use Google Home smart speakers, you may have noticed that some of its functions have undergone changes for days. The reason probably has nothing to do with your Nest and Home devices, but something more convoluted than part of the offices of the Google and Sonos companies. Specifically, the recent decision by the United States International Trade Commission that the former has infringed a patent of the latter, a company specializing in audio devices.
The judicial scuffle could have remained just that, a simple disagreement that adds weight to the long list of disputes related to copyright in the technology sector, if it were not for a very simple reason: it affects users, who have seen how, at least temporarily lost the option of centralized volume control for multiple speaker systems.
What does it translate into?
A sentence with practical consequences
As the EuroXliveAndroid colleagues explain, the sentence affects the groups of speakers, the function that allows us group a series of devices so we can listen to the same music throughout the house or selected rooms. Unlike before, in this case we can no longer use Google Home, the Google Assistant, or the volume controls of our device to suddenly adjust the strength with which the different speakers emit. The reason: the company has begun to disable that feature of its products to comply with the court ruling.
Although the process is somewhat different, there is still, in any case, a way that allows us to adapt the volume of each of our speakers when listening to music on a group of devices. We no longer have to go to the “Groups” section, but to the “Media” button or “Shared Controls” notification. After that first step we will see a list with the controls of all the speakers. Once with it unfolded, it will come with sliding the bars to adjust them.
The process is somewhat more cumbersome, but today it is the alternative offered by Google so we can adjust the level of the devices without having to access each of them separately. The measure will be a priori temporary and will last as long as it takes for the company to regain control of global volume. It has already advanced that it will do so, both for smart speakers and for smart TVs and screens compatible with Google Home.
Yes indeed, no specific date.
The option that has not been affected by the United States ruling is that of “pair of speakers”, which turns two devices into one stereo speaker.