Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

A photo showing the phone with volume adjustment options .

Google Home wants you to adjust the volume of each device individually when casting in the speaker group.
Pictures: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

All good things must come to an end, and this includes the ability to use Google’s multi-room casting for uninterrupted audio control, one of Sonos’ patent-breaking features.

A trade commission later ruled in favor of Sonos YesterdayGoogle his post Nest forum About the instant change coming in its speaker group features. Google is rolling out software tweaks so that its audio casting features do not infringe on the five patents that have spread it all.

The bottom line is: you can no longer adjust the volume across all devices within the Google Cast Home group with a simple finger-pull. Instead, you need to individually adjust each connected smart speaker and display volume slider within that specific group.

One of the advantages of choosing your Android smartphone as the Google Home Home Controller is that pressing the External Volume button will also control the volume of each speaker that contributes to the Home group. But it’s also gone, and you can no longer use quick shortcuts to reduce volume.

Google writes that most speaker groups should work as expected unless you are using JBL and Lenovo-branded devices, which use a different casting protocol. Firmware version 1.52.272222 or higher is required to work on JBL and Lenovo devices.

You can check the technical information in the Google Home app by tapping on the device name, then Settings Button in the right corner. You will find the firmware list below Instrument information. If you think your device is missing a firmware update, you can try a factory reset and then try backing it up with your Google Account for updates.

A small subset will need to install a “Device Utility App” or DUA to receive software updates. If any of your devices fall into that category, you’ll probably see a prompt pop up in the Google Home app to download and install DUA. This will help ensure that your devices stay connected to your home WiFi and run the latest firmware. Installation of DUA will also be included in the setup of any new Google Home product.

People are upset, if the answer No indication of Google’s post on the Nest forum. Some people are even asking for a refund, noting that it takes away one of the most friendly features of Google Casting. “This ‘update’ breaks all the intent and functionality of using your devices to listen to music,” wrote a forum member. “I bought physically disabled and special devices so I could control them by voice,” said another.

My house is covered in casting devices (this is my job!), So I went ahead and checked the multi-room situation myself. The first time I tried it was because I was a “legacy” home group that I created a long time ago. It includes five speakers placed around my bottom area. When I was casting music from Spotify, I had no option to control the sound when I pressed the phone button, and Google Assistant claimed that lowering the volume with voice commands was “not available.”

It will be interesting to see if there will be more “fixes” in the next two months, as long as Google has a ban on importing devices that violate Sonos patents (including Nest speakers, Chromecast streaming sticks and Pixel phones).. But the company already had a contingency plan – the software tweaks mentioned above – which Approved by the judge who gave the preliminary verdict last August, and what we see here is probably the result of all that.

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