Sonos legal win means Google smart speakers will operate differently

Sonos legal win causes volume issue with Google smart speakers
(Image credit: Google)

A US trade court has ruled that Google is guilty of infringing Sonos’s patents. As a result, Google has had to slightly change the way in which its Google smart speakers work.

The main change concerns volume control within a multi-room set-up. Instead of changing the volume of a group of speakers all together, you’ll have to adjust each one individually, Google says (via The Verge). You also won't be able to adjust Speaker Group volume using your phone’s volume rocker.

Affected devices include the Google Home and Nest Hub (2nd Gen). And if your Speaker Group includes Google Cast-based devices made by other manufacturers like JBL or Lenovo, they need to be on at least the 1.52.272222 Cast firmware version. So you might need to update (find out how to do so here).

You also might need to use the Device Utility app (DUA) to perform installations and updates.

Late last week, the US International Trade Commission ruled that Google had violated five Sonos patents related to multi-room smart speakers, following a judge’s ruling in August.

Ultimately, it doesn’t look like Google will have to stop selling any of its smart speakers, and its software-based workarounds have been approved by the same International Trade Commission.


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Joe Svetlik

Joe has been writing about tech for 17 years, first on staff at T3 magazine, then in a freelance capacity for Stuff, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Men's Health, GQ, The Mirror, Trusted Reviews, TechRadar and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include all things mobile, headphones and speakers that he can't justifying spending money on.