Last month, Google had to limit the connectivity features of the Google Home devices. When this limitation rolled out, you could only group one device at a time. It was because of a lawsuit from Sonos. This lawsuit claimed that Google stole the idea of managing groups of speakers from Sonos.
Well, now Google is making a U-turn. If you have a Google Home device, you can now add them to multiple speaker groups in the Google Home app. These devices include the smart displays, Chromecast, and Google Nest speakers.
Google has managed to convince the federal court that some of the patents from the 2022 ruling are invalid. And right after the court case was settled, Google immediately shipped out the software update. This update re-enables the grouping features.
Google vs Sonos: More About Google Home Device Grouping Patent Case
For those wondering, the grouping feature found in the Google Home and Sonos speakers lets you play audio from multiple speakers in different rooms. They utilize built-in microphones to automatically mitigate the surprisingly intricate audio delay that usually takes place in such setups. As a result, you get a seamless whole-home audio experience.
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But after Sonos found out about this Google Home speakers feature, it smacked down Google with five patents in 2022. Among them, the two headline patents are about allowing for control of volumes of multiple speakers at once. Before the latest case wrap-up, Google was asked to pay $32.5 million as a settlement amount. However, recently, the court declared the two patents invalid.
That said, Sonos says that it plans to appeal the decision. That means the Google Home Device owners could see the feature getting stripped out again. But till then, you have the option to group the devices once again. We will get you updated regarding the case when more information is available.