The Google Nest Hub has a new multi-room audio feature to rival Sonos

google nest hub
(Image credit: Google)

Google smart displays, including the Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max, are now able to control multi-room audio in real time, thanks to a software update that should make it easier to fill your home with music. 

While it was already possible to manually group Nest speakers together to play the same music on different speakers simultaneously, Google says the new update lets you add and remove speakers "dynamically" and change the volume of individual speakers, as well as the entire speaker system.

In a blog post (opens in new tab), Google Nest product manager Chris Chan says that the multi-room audio control interface is now available on the "Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max and other compatible Assistant-enabled Smart Displays", and that "the same functionality will be coming to the Google Home app" in the next few months. 

That means you should be able to control your multi-room playback using your smartphone, much like a Sonos speaker system.

Sound in every room

Based on the pictures released by Google, the new multi-room interface looks pretty simple to use. 

At the top of your Google Assistant smart display, you'll see a volume slider that controls every speaker in the group, with sliders for the individual speakers below. 

Available devices are displayed at the bottom of the screen, which you can tap to add into your multi-room system. In the top-right of the screen, you'll be able to see which track is playing; according to Google, the feature will work with most audio apps, "including YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora and more". 

As well as controlling the volume and number of devices, the new interface lets you move music from one room to another – and you can do this using your voice, the Google Home app, or the touchscreen on your smart display. 

It's also still possible to stereo pair two Nest Mini or Google Home Max devices in the Google Home app, giving you left and right channel-separation, and a more immersive sound than two speakers playing in mono.

The multi-room update comes after Google revealed its latest smart speaker, the so-called Google Nest (despite being revealed by the company in a promotional video, we're still yet to find out the official name of the speaker).

It's rumored that the new Google Nest speaker could hit shelves in the next few weeks, as reputable leaker Roland Quandt alleges in a recent tweet (opens in new tab)

According to Quandt, Google's latest smart speaker will be available from "the end of August", and will cost 100€ – that works out at around $120 / £90 / AU$160. That's a little pricier than the original Google Home, which cost ($89 / £89 / AU$128) at launch.

Olivia Tambini

Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.