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Google is already bringing back the software features it removed because of Sonos’ lawsuit

Google is already bringing back the software features it removed because of Sonos’ lawsuit


Restored Google Home features for grouping smart speakers are beginning to roll out ‘immediately’ across Google devices and the Home app on Android.

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A photo of the blue Google Nest Audio in a living room
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Google is moving quickly to restore some of the features and functionality it previously removed from multiple products in response to Sonos’ patent infringement case. After its victory in federal court on Friday, the company plans to undo the restrictions it implemented on speaker groups.

“We recently made a change to speaker groups for Nest speakers, displays, and Chromecast where certain devices can only belong to one speaker group at a time in the Google Home app,” the company wrote on its Nest community blog. “In light of this legal decision we’re happy to share that we will be rolling back this change. Devices will be able to belong to multiple speaker groups and you will no longer run into an error when trying to add a device to additional groups.”

Google says it has already started to roll out these changes and expects them to reach all devices and the Google Home app for Android within 48 hours. (They’re “coming soon” to the Home app on iOS but with less clear timing.)

It’s interesting that Google is already taking these actions. Sonos has said it plans to appeal Judge William Alsup’s ruling, which threw out an initial $32.5 million verdict, but apparently, Google is confident that the decision won’t be reversed in the near term.

As is usually the case with these things, the drawn-out legal battle between Sonos and Google has hurt customers the most. It’s good to see these grouping features restored for owners of the affected products, but Google Assistant remains absent from Sonos’ most recent smart speakers.

On Tuesday, Google called for patent reform and accused Sonos of “wasting time and resources” with the patent infringement case.