Google forced to REMOVE popular feature after losing lawsuit

IT'S GOING, going, GONE for Google as the tech giant is forced to remove a popular feature.

And for anyone with multiple smart speakers it could be bad news.

In a major step backwards, Android users casting music to more than one speaker will no longer be able to change the volume on every device at the same time.

Annoyingly, you'll have to adjust each one individually instead.

Google said "most" Speaker Groups should continue working as expected unless you have a speaker group containing other brands of Cast-based devices, like JBL or Lenovo.

It'll affect anyone using the feature in the Google Home app, by voice with the Google Assistant, or those using a Nest Hub display.

Some users will have to download a special Device Utility app to complete product installation and carry out updates to their speakers going forward.

"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," Google revealed.

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The dramatic move comes after the firm was told it had infringed on patents held by audio rival Sonos, meaning Google would no longer be allowed to import offending products into the US.

It follows a two-year long investigation by the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) which found Google violated five of Sonos' patents relating to smart speakers.

Sonos' chief legal officer Eddie Lazarus welcomed the ruling – The Verge reports – saying: "These Sonos patents cover Sonos’ groundbreaking invention of extremely popular home audio features, including the set up for controlling home audio systems, the synchronization of multiple speakers, the independent volume control of different speakers, and the stereo pairing of speakers.

"It 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."

The ruling states that Google won’t be banned from importing products into the US that it had redesigned to get around the issue.

And it doesn't look like the bitter feud between the two companies is over just yet.

Google said it doesn't expect the decision to affect to its ability to import or sell its products.

“We will seek further review and continue to defend ourselves against Sonos’ frivolous claims about our partnership and intellectual property,” a spokesperson said.

In other news, Apple has become the first company to hit a stock market valuation of $3trillion (£2.22trillion).

Popular Twitch creator Sliker has been banned from the platform after sharing nude imagery of fellow streamer Amouranth.

And internet users have been urged to check their online accounts against one of 2021's worst cyber threats.

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