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GoogleNestTeam
Community Manager (Admin)
Community Manager (Admin)

Hey everyone, 

Due to a recent legal ruling we’re making some changes to how you set up your devices and the Speaker Group functionality will work moving forward. If you’re using the Speaker Group feature to control the volume in the Google Home app, by voice with the Google Assistant, or directly on your Nest Hub display, you’ll notice a few changes: 

  • To adjust volume on your speaker groups, you will need to adjust each speaker individually instead of using the group volume controller. You’ll also no longer be able to change your Speaker Group volume using your phone’s physical volume button. 
  • Most Speaker Groups should continue functioning as expected unless you have a speaker group containing other brands of Cast-based devices, like JBL or Lenovo, they need to be on 1.52.272222 or higher Cast firmware version. Check out this article on how to find your device’s firmware version or contact your device maker. 
  • A small set of users will need to use the ‘Device Utility app’ (DUA) to complete product installation and updates. You may receive a prompt to download and run DUA, and it will ensure that your device is connected to Wi-Fi and receives the most updated software version. 

We will continue to support our users and work to minimize any additional changes.

Thanks, 

Google Nest team

913 Comments
TimoNoNo
Community Member

I’d like a refund, and/or return all my Google devices.

When I first bought devices for the Google system, it was a Lot different than it is today. Integration into home automation systems were possible, wich over time has been replaced with Google Assistant - different logic, different functions, and overall a non-working concept compared to how it originally was.

Then came a change on wich devices works together in with Googles platforms. Nest Mini and Chromecast Audio suddenly stopped working with Chromecast Ultra when using YouTube; it only works with YouTube Music last I checked. Using nest’s + chromecasts as entertainment solution instantly became a muted solution.

With speakers now loosing group volume, theres very little function left, for users not buying into the concept og Google Assistant.

To summarize, I bought Google products that no longer works as intended nor as advertised, due to changes done by Google. I’d like my money back, since all trust in Google fixing this to the better is long gone.

Someone
Community Member

@GoogleNestTeam there certainly has to be a way to work around this patent.

I don't even know how to violate such a simple patent anyway because the functionality is so basic it shouldn't even be allowed to be patented in the first place. In conclusion: there has to be a deeper thing that google violated, so there should be a solution with some different code.

can you link the patent in question? i would like to have a look at it 

PerA
Community Member

Hi Google - Pay Sonos!

NickErin
Community Member

PAY SONOS!

DTBoudreau
Community Member

@GoogleNestTeam  This is bull**bleep**. Pay Sonos or find a fix as you’ve made the system useless for what I actually bought it for.  Feeling happy I resisted buying 4 more last week now I need to figure out what I start replacing you with if you don’t fix this 

papacubed
Community Member

I've spent my money adopting the Google ecosystem, and now one of the main features is disabled at no fault of my own?  I'm expecting bdig time rebates/refunds here.  This is pathetic.  Shame on you Google.  Make this right for your loyal users immediately.

Bk6
Community Member

I think we’re thinking about this the wrong way. We as a community beyond the frustration with google should collectively slam Sonos for the ridiculous patent. The patent effectively dictates what I can use my personal cell phone not produced by Sonos can do, the option for which at least Americans can appreciate it’s insane. 

Affect their bottom line and a royalty deal will work it’s self out expeditiously.

 

Jayz2K
Community Member

Seriously ? I haven't bought 1 or 2 but 5 Nest devices for multiroom. And you're telling us that starting right now it's like having a 5.1 surround system requiring to setup sound level on centre, left, right, sourrounds and sub individually, each time you need to change global volume ? This is a joke ? Who would purchase such a stupid setup ?

Pay SONOS !

Fredrik
Community Member

This is a disaster😭

How can such a huge company just f*ck there customers like this? I have 15 Google home speakers (Chrome Audio, Nest Audio, Home Max, Home Hub, Home Hub Max and more…) around my house with 4 different groups depending on the occasion. Not even counting soundbars and televisions. I’m fully invested in the Google Eco System and I really like it, but this is such a game changer that you could actually argue that buying into Alexa or Sonos makes more sense at this stage. This really doesn’t feel ok when I have bought stereo equipment with your logo on for somewhere around 4k.

Google, who-ever you are, you must address this quickly and make the audio-groups back to what they were before this mishap. I’m feeling very betrayed.

Tacocat
Community Member

This is a bit of a hack.  Five points from Google 

You could have just paid Sonos the royalties. They have a good product and it would benefit your customers and their smart engineers to pay them.  You know, recognize good work even if it's not yours - something I learned in kindergarten.

This appears miserly.  I really like your stuff but you keep tarnishing the image of your products.

Peterrrr
Community Member

So why did you not announce this at the end of November when you started making changes for this.  So I and others  wasted a month of troubleshooting which means nothing for your customers.   You know what happens when a customer is not happy, or did you miss that lecture in school, also.  

crog62
Community Member

Perhaps Google can pay to license the patents in order to deliver the service you sold. If not then you will need to refund the cost of these devices. You can see where this ends up, don't you? "Don't do evil" google, make this situation right. 

donuts
Community Member

its evolving, but backwards. don't be evil.

RobertoP
Community Member

"contact your device maker" is the biggest "F U" that you could possibly have given your customers.

You broke our setups. You contact them. You provide them the resources and incentive to get things up to date. You take ownership of your mistakes.

Shame on you.

Timelydf
Community Member

"We will continue to support our users and work to minimize any additional changes".

No support at all. Many questions have been asked here and no answers have been provided from Google. Crickets chirping and tumbleweed rolling by. What is this crap about minimising additional changes? You need to make some significant changes to sort out this mess. Your word salads are pathetic.

Bernies
Community Member

Very very sad to hear that. That was really one of the best features the groups had.

I hope that there will be a solution soon, because the Nest devices and Sound quality are very good.

DFC
Community Member

Highly considering ditching 20+ Google branded devices, including nest cams and protects and Lenovo alarm clock, and moving to Alexa. Group audio is the number one function I have all of these chrome cast ultras, chrome cast audios, and nest homes. I switched from airplay for it (before AirPlay 2). Anyone know if Alexa supports group volume? (I hear Alexa also supports my Google for Work account and calendar better!)

simon9646
Community Member

yet again another update thst backdates itself.  new update on pixel have got rid of some of the things i loved as well like the quick access for your google home product's by holding the off button down . it now brings google assistant up . pointless.  might have to go for Alexa at the rate there ruining what seemed to be a good thing.  i dont understand why there making it so rubbish . 

bj61251
Community Member

This isn't just affecting speaker groups; I have a morning routine to reset the volume of each of my devices, and it was already designed to do them individually because it tended to work better (so literally step by step "Set volume of <device 1> to 5. Set volume of <device 2> to 5... etc."). Now it just keeps changing the volume of the device that runs the routine. I tested, and you straight up cannot change the volume of one device from another device; it just changes the volume of the current device. It has nothing to do with them being in a group.

I'm already on chat with the google store about getting my $300+ dollars back from these crippled products.

Ayayron
Community Member

Here's an alternate solution to your legal problem:

 

Play Sonos royalties for the tech you infringed upon.

 

I feel like I'll have to sell my Google homes and purchase Sonos now...

ffttt
Community Member

This is shambles! You need to get this working one way or another soon!

meglmt
Community Member

Can someone please explain this new "feature"?  I have a group of speakers (google home and minis) and there is one speaker that refuses to adjust the volume when I say "hey google, lower the volume"  it tells me it is not able to change the volume on this device.  My other devices change the volume.  I'm not particulary concerned about changing the entire group , although if that is what this is about, I'm not thrilled, but I am trying to understand why 1 speaker will not change it's volume (let alone the entire group!)

TIA

AKA228
Community Member

Dear fellow Google users,

I just wanted to inform everyone that unfortunately, Google does not seem to care how removing features affects customers. I know this blog is about the removal of volume features from google nest speakers, but this example will show what you can expect:

Google Play Music was shutdown at the end of 2020 and replaced with YouTube Music. GPM had a direct casting to SONOS speakers feature built in, it was added back in 2014. I bought my first Sonos speaker when this feature was added and over 7 years that has turned into 12 total Sonos speakers throughout my house that me and my wife would CAST music to daily from GPM. Google promised that YTM would have FEATURE PARITY with GPM before it shut down, unfortunately Google was very dishonest here. They shut down GPM with MANY missing features in YTM and still HAVE NOT added direct Casting to Sonos speakers like GPM had.  Google is on the record in 2019 and 2020 responding to users in forums saying this feature is being worked on. Here we are in 2022, and still no casting. This has majorly downgraded the functionality of our 12 Sonos speakers (over $5K in speakers) as we can't directly cast to any of them now.  So a feature that Google added in GPM back in 2014 was taken away in YTM which caused MAJOR lost functionality of my $5K Sonos system. Not only have I  constantly been in contact with Google about this, but I was also informing them in 2020 before the GPM shutdown what would happen to my system functionality if they didn't add casting back into YTM. Their responses have been lacking and show they truly do not care about their users and they do not care about stripping functionality away from products of long term users, they have no loyalty to their customers. Something tells me this lawsuit has also affected adding this casting feature back in.

This has hands down been the absolute worst customer experience I have ever had with any company and products in my entire life.  I would caution any user who believes Google cares that you are caused aggravation by lost functionality of the their speakers. Also, they have shown to be very dishonest by claiming features were being worked on that clearly, were not. It seems Google is really turning away from early principles of "don't be evil". Stripping important features and usability away from products and ecosystems that customer have invested 100's and 1000's of dollars in is the very definition of evil.

 

MetalMessiah78
Community Member

This is b.s. Just pay the licencing fee and stop acting like the victim! Don't let us suffer for your mistake! You're a trillion dollar company. I have 17 speakers and displays throughout my home. Do you know how inconvenient that is?

SamInPgh
Community Member

"There is a possibility that Google will be able to degrade or eliminate product features in a way that circumvents the importation ban that the ITC has imposed," Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus said in a statement. "But while Google may sacrifice consumer experience in an attempt to circumvent this importation ban, its products will still infringe many dozens of Sonos patents, its wrongdoing will persist, and the damages owed Sonos will continue to accrue. Alternatively, Google can -- as other companies have already done -- pay a fair royalty for the technologies it has misappropriated."

#PAYSONOS

 

simon9646
Community Member

cant believe this is because google wont pat sonos . rubbish . 

RLeeuwen
Community Member

Really Google, I used to be a big fan of you guys but to not have a work around ready and just switch it off disappoints me big time. I have 7 speakers in one group. To adjust the volume for all of them is not workable. Please fix this asap. Just buy Sonos or something FFS.  It's also really bad to not receive an in app notification of this major downgrade just not to waste people's time with resetting and troubleshooting like me.

xd1936
Community Member

And if my soundbar is on Cast Version 1.36.145853? It's a two year old model by Vizio and says it has no updates available...

rolfhsp
Community Member

I have 2 Nest Mini, 4 Nest Home, 6 Nest Hub,  2 Chromecast Audio and 8 UrbanEars Baggen/Stammen speakers with Chromecast builint (fw.v. 1.28.102057)

All grouped neatly into rooms/areas

Worked great a year ago (some minor peculiarities at times, but hey, cutting edge tech and all that) with group volume control and reliable streaming in sync on all devices.

Lately the volumes have been hard to control, and also mixing Nest and Urbanears speakers has led to audio bouncing back and forth between speakers at times.

In my naivety I've been expecting that these issues would be dealt with and fixed.

And instead, this?

As someone else here said, this really highlights the absurdity of these patents claims.

But that said, for now, if Google lets down its customers this way, they may as well just go out and say that they are discontinuing their speaker/Chromecast tech altogether.

I say pay up, and give your customers what they have paid for, and then use your financial muscles to fight the good fight, namely attacking the shameless consumer-hostile patent claims laws, that allows patenting things that people take for granted.

I've spent quite a bit of money building up a speaker setup for the whole house, and now it's not going to work as expected. 

What a letdown!

r0bb
Community Member

I don't even understand this announcement. I have 20 speakers in 2 groups, covering my entire house.

1. They have been having major issues with volume control since december. Why wasn't this communicated directly so I at least knew that you intentionally destroyed this feature?

2. Will group volume control be fixed in the future or NOT? Because if not, speakergroups with 10 speakers like mine are now useless. Which means I'm going to have to get rid of this entire system. Which means I'll be happy to get a partial refund or join any class action lawsuit over this.

--

Exactly this Sonos lawsuit shows the reason why smart home devices are so problematic and I would recommend anybody to reevaluate investing in it. The simple fact that you don't own your devices and they can be bricked or degraded remotely at any point makes it a pretty bad investment and very frustrating to deal with. Because, just think about it, some irrelevant (to me) battle between Google and Sonos directly resulted in MY home audio system being bricked. A system I paid thousands for. Scary and infuriating when you think about it...

Musicalymia
Community Member

Just pay the stinkin royalties. It's worth it for innovation. Instead you choose to force your poor judgement and lack of collaboration on your customers. This is a bad look Google. It makes me rethink my loyalty considering you're essentially telling me I have hundred of dollars of paper weights because you're too cheap and too selfish.  Time to rethink where I get my products from.

 

clachankid
Community Member

Google pay the royalty's to Sonos or give me my money back!!!

Hopefully some lawyer gets a class action lawsuit against Google and makes them pay even more for not just paying Sonos the royalty's required to keep this working.

Everyone needs to switch to DuckDuckGo and Apple this is the only way we can make this company pay for being so cheap.

 

ReVerb239
Community Member

Well Google you better start developing an app that restores this functionality since it is one of the main reasons I bought your products. You can't remove a main function and expect everyone to roll over.

Purplekero
Community Member

So why did you not announce this at the end of November when you started making changes for this.  So I and others  wasted a month of troubleshooting which means nothing for your customers.   You know what happens when a customer is not happy, or did you miss that lecture in school, also

ekalfwonS
Community Member

Is it possible to turn off automatic updates on our Nest devices?  No more updates, but no lost features either.

 

#paysonos

Mfsyyc
Community Member

This is brutal and a great way to push users like me off of this ecosystem. The list of things I hate about my Google home(s) grows ever longer.

 

To pass this off as not a big deal is pretty shady.

jtiger121
Community Member

dear google.. as a shareholder and owner of multiple google products there is an easy solution to this PR and product support nightmare 

Just buy sonos, they are publicly traded. Their hardware is better, and you would corner the market in home wireless audio. ~5 billion would do it. If you wanted to be evil, you could keep the patents, fire everyone, and rebrand their devices as Google Sonos. 

 

 

Halo69
Community Member

Today things got even worse. Google has now removed the option in the Google Home app to simultaneously adjust the speaker pair/group volume.

I now have to adjust each speaker/group/pair individually - and all manually. When you open a speaker group, the volume control function is gone as well. What the heck does this feature have to do with the Voice Volume Control patent?

Come on, Google. You have crippled and blinded us, offer no apologies or fixes, and on top of this all you make things even more unmanageable. There's just no way to easily adjust the volume. The speakers are useless, the app is useless: it's BS! 

PAY SONOS! 

Screenshot_20220107_171739_com.google.android.apps.chromecast.app_edit_5360095269493.jpg

jtiger121
Community Member

dont PAY sonos, BUY sonos

danielpatrickke
Community Member

This situation is not sustainable. Google fix this NOW loose a lot of customers.

tsukiakari
Community Member

This materially changes the ability and functionality of the product: I expect Google to find workarounds for this, license the tech from Sonos, or offer refunds on these devices that I have many of and have had for a long time that are suddenly going to no longer operate as promised, not because of capability, but because of a software change. I'm with the other users; find a way to fix it and be more transparent about it.

Rmattgraham
Community Member

Blame the US Patent and Trademark office

elektrolyte
Community Member

Classic Google. Trying to bully smaller businesses by not paying for licensing/royalties then passing the buck down to their consumers.

 

On the other hand Sonos has been slow to innovate & grow after their initial success, and google/amazon filled that lower end market with chromecast audio, nest speakers etc. 

 

Hopefully Google can reach an agreement with Sonos around licensing. 

 

 

 

RS_SW
Community Member

It's the inconsistency that is now bothering me more than anything else.

Initially, my Nest Mini pair worked e.g. I could control the volume by saying "Hey Google, Volume 5".

Then it stopped working and the solution for me was to change the command to "Hey Google, Volume 5 Home". It stayed like this for maybe two weeks.

Now it has changed again!

I can transfer the pair to a Group and the voice command works and I can transfer back again to the pair and it works but I have no confidence in this lasting and it's not how it worked originally.

What is even more worrying is the many variations users appear to have.

Why?

Why is it not just 'broken'?

Why does it keep changing?

What is it going to change to?

When is it going to be consistent?

What will the final outcome be?

When will the final outcome be tested (Ha!) and deployed?

 

kalmark
Community Member

JBL always tells me "Go to Google" when I ask why my Link 300 doesn't get any firmware updates. Google here sends me back to JBL. Now I'm stuck on 1.44 so per above it won't work - how exactly it won't work is not spelled out. Something's not quite right with this...

jmasters
Community Member

What the **bleep**? 

So we paid you money for your devices that violated Sonos' patents, and now that Sonos has sued you for it, you're crippling our devices rather than pay them royalties for their technology? 

So Google is once again choosing to screw over it's customers to save a pittance? 

Scigeeks
Community Member

Utterly outrageous. Plain and simple. I feel utterly ripped off. I will be advising everyone l know to avoid all of your products like the plague. A joke.

Rob74
Community Member

This is not acceptable, giving the consequences of your mistakes to us, your (formerly) loyal customers.

But do I understand it correctly that the solution you are offering is for us to sell all the Google speakers and replace these with Sonos?

Sounds like the right time to sell all Google shares and start buying Sonos.

SuzetteGates
Community Member

Not applicable Google so don't email little old me and tell me my Google Home speaker volume is fixed.  It's not.  This is not the same issue as those who purchased the stereo speaker systems.  My problem still exists and needs fixing.  Hey Google still can't "take my phone off silent," from my Google Home, hence turning my volume up to 100% and blasting information out at me in bed.  DIFFERENT ISSUE.  

Lt_Battlefield
Community Member

@GoogleNestTeam I have purchased many many Speakers from the Google Store. All where sold to me with the soul purpose and the advertising of adjusting the volume as a group with one volume control via phone buttons, app adjustment by one volume control, and by asking Google Assistant to adjust a group of speakers. I have even purchased a bundle product of "Nest Audio" Speaker's that are sold as a pair to be paired together wirelessly and to adjust the volume as a pair.

 

I own 3 Nest Mini's, 2 Nest Audio's, 2 Nest Hubs, 1 Nest Hub Manx, 1 Google TV with Chromecast, 1 LG C1 TV paired with Google Assistant, and 1 Insignia Clock Speaker that shows me the time, weather, and with Google Assistant.

 

All of which are paired as a Group to play music throughout my entire house with one volume control. This was advertised to me when I bought all of these devices with the soul purpose to adjust the volume as one group by voice and by using my Android phones volume control or by using Google Home App.

You can't just take away features that was sold to me. This is a complete outrage and against my rights as a customer. I demand my features back as they where sold to me with all of these intentions. I didn't ask for this lawsuit as a customer. I was sold these features at the time of purchase and demand they continue to work for as long as I own the products.