Google launched Fast Pair in 2018, which allows certain Bluetooth headphones to be quickly paired with Android devices and Chromebooks. Soon, Fast Pair will start automatically switching Bluetooth headphones to the device playing audio.
Some Bluetooth headphones have a feature called Multipoint, which allows them to automatically switch between paired devices (usually a maximum of two devices) based on audio output and priority. For example, if you’re listening to music from a tablet or PC and you receive a call on your phone, the headphones should automatically switch to the phone.
Google revealed today that it integrates Multipoint with Fast Pair, ensuring the two features work together. The company said, “Our audio switching technology leverages Fast Pair to use contextual information about what you’re listening to to change the audio based on your actions. We have more categories that are categorized to figure out how to prioritize sounds between phone calls, media, and any sounds your devices can make. So, for example, if you’re watching a video on your tablet and you get a notification on your phone, the audio from your headphones won’t come through to your phone. But if you receive a phone call, your headset sound will make the change.
Crucially, it doesn’t seem to bring multipoint to all headphones and speakers that already support Fast Pair, including the JBL Live 660NC, Harman Kardon Fly, and older Google Pixel Buds. Audio switching will only be available on the new Pixel Buds Pro at first, and it’s coming to “select Sony and JBL headphones in the coming weeks.” The feature does not yet work with Chromebooks, only Android phones and tablets.
The main advantage of Google’s feature over standard multipoint is the ability to quickly reverse auto-switching. Switching connected devices can be tricky with Bluetooth Multipoint, but Google shows a notification when switching that makes it quick to reverse the action.