Did you notice your smart speakers are no longer responding to some commands or simply can’t be added to the Google Home app?
From Google’s own products to Google Cast-enabled speakers, most products in this ecosystem are losing functionality across the board because of a lawsuit Google lost with Sonos.
The resulting US International Trade Commission decision forced Google to apply ITC-approved software downgrades to remove infringing features from speakers, which is the likely cause of your devices not working as before.
Group Speakers Features: Which Models Are Affected?
Most of those features are related with setting up and controlling groups of speakers so, if you own multiple devices and saw this happening to your products, this might be the culprit.
Initially, it was thought only devices like the Chromecast, the Nest Audio or the Pixel line would be affected by this decision but it impacts even third party products.
Owners of Philips speakers reported they can’t cast to speakers or group their speakers in a regular setup, although that functionality was previously there.
Also affected are other Google Cast-based devices from makers like JBL or Lenovo.
Because of the ITC decision, Google had to remove some functionalities, like having a single volume slider or a smart home routine to control group speaker volume.
Now, that’s replaced by individual controls for each and every speaker.
How To Mitigate the Missing Functionality
Google posted on their blogs more details about this issue and how you can mitigate it.
First off, you can try this simple firmware update:
“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.”
If that doesn’t work, try he Device Utility app, an ITC-approved workaround that Google found to offer the connection functionality without infringing on the Sonos patents.