Sonos won a legal battle against Google. The result – for owners of Google Smart Speakers – is rather awkward.
Sonos has a patent on group control of multiroom speakers. In itself, this is of course a very logical feature. With one control you can adjust the volume of all the speakers in a room or in various rooms. Although this joint volume control was also built into Google’s speakers, they had overlooked a small detail. Namely?: the obvious technique turned out to be patented by Sonos.
Goodbye collective volume control
Sonos filed a lawsuit against Google and has now won the battle. The result is that owners of Google smart speakers now have to set the volume for each speaker seperately. The old way of using the volume control on your smartphone to adjust everything at once is therefore a thing of the past. If you want to continue to use this option in the future, it is time to switch to the Sonos ecosystem (and/or IKEA smart speakers, which are also made by Sonos). The judge also found five other patent infringements by Google, what the consequences of those will be is not yet clear. It does seem that ‘copycat’ Google can continue to produce its own line of smart speakers for the time being. For more information see this article from The Verge.