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Nest devices get major downgrade as part of legal challenge

This is the latest Nest feature to be nerfed following a legal battle.

Published onSeptember 19, 2023

google nest hub second generation review header
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
  • A variety of Google Nest devices are now only limited to one speaker group.
  • Google has confirmed that this limitation is due to a legal issue.

Google Nest devices allow you to create speaker groups so you can simultaneously play audio from a specific set of Nest gadgets. Google also lets one Nest device belong to multiple speaker groups, but that’s changing now.

9to5Google spotted the introduction of “speaker group device limitations” on a Google support page. And it turns out that loads of Nest devices are only able to join one speaker group rather than multiple groups.

“If you try to add one of these devices to a second speaker group in the app, you’ll get an error message,” Google explained on the support page.

The affected devices are as follows:

  • Google Nest Mini (second-generation)
  • Google Nest Audio
  • Chromecast with Google TV (HD and 4K)
  • Google Nest Hub (second generation)
  • Google Nest Hub Max
  • Google Nest Wi-Fi Point
  • Pixel Tablet (in Hub Mode)

“In light of a recent legal decision, users will no longer be able to add new Nest devices to multiple groups. There are no changes to existing speaker groups,” a company spokesperson told 9to5Google.

Your current speaker groups shouldn’t be affected then, but this is still a disappointing turn of events for Google’s smart home ecosystem. You can theoretically edit a speaker group in the Google Home app every time you want a new Nest device to play in a different group. But this will likely get annoying fast.

Do you use speaker groups on your Nest devices?

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In saying so, some older products like the Google Home, Google Home Max, first-generation Home Mini, and Chromecast Ultra aren’t listed as affected devices. So we’re guessing these gadgets might still support multiple speaker groups if they aren’t too old. We’ve asked Google to clarify this situation and will update the article accordingly.

Either way, this change comes a while after Sonos successfully sued Google over several smart speaker patents. There’s no word if Sonos is the reason behind this latest restriction, although speaker groups were part of the legal tussle.

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