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April 14, 2018

Google could soon let you sync smartphones for music playback

by John_A

Smart speakers are all the rage these days. Companies like Sonos, Google, JBL, and more, are all working on ways to connect multiple speakers together for a house-wide audio experience. But all of these solutions involve having to buy new speakers. What if you could achieve a similar result with speakers that you already have — the speaker in your smartphone.

That is what Google seems to be trying to do with its newly awarded patent, which describes the creation of a mesh network by mobile devices that are close together, with the goal of stream audio together, in sync. Within the network, there would be one master device, which would control playback, with the other devices acting simply as extra speakers in a system.

The technology could be very helpful. As the patent notes, while more and more people are investing in speaker systems for their home, plenty still don’t have such systems. On top of that, most of these speakers aren’t portable — instead they remain in the home — so if you’re at a picnic and want to play some music, you might be a little limited by your speakers.

The tech is a little more complicated than it sounds. Different speakers need to be synced exactly in order to avoid any issues with the playback. Because of this, not only do the devices receive audio to play, but they will also get instructions on exactly when to play back the audio.

The system could end up being built into Google’s Google Cast system. Google Cast currently allows users to stream both audio and video to TVs, speakers, Google Home devices, and so on, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the option to stream to multiple phones as part of that. Google even included a few images to the patent — showing an option on the screen that allows you to use multiple devices as a system together when they are playing the same content.

It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this patent — the latest patent is a continuation of a patent that was filed back in 2016. Still, the fact that it’s popping again shows that Google is still working on it — and it could show up sooner rather than later.

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