Google launched Fast Pair in 2018, which allows some Bluetooth headphones to be quickly paired with Android devices and Chromebooks. Soon, Fast Pair will start switching Bluetooth headphones automatically to whichever device is 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) depending on the 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 is integrating Multipoint with Fast Pair, ensuring the two features work together. The company said, “our audio switching technology builds on top of Fast Pair to use contextual information on what you’re listening to in order to switch the audio based on your actions. We have more categories that are ranked to determine how to prioritize sounds between phone calls, media and all of the sounds your devices may make. So for example, if you’re watching a video on your tablet and you receive a notification on your phone, your headphone audio will not switch to your phone. But if you receive a phone call, your headphone audio will make the switch.”
Importantly, this 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 will arrive on “select Sony and JBL headphones in the coming weeks.” The functionality also doesn’t work with Chromebooks yet, just Android phones and tablets.
The main advantage to Google’s feature over regular Multipoint is the ability to quickly reverse the automatic switching. Changing the connected device can be complicated with Bluetooth Multipoint, but Google shows a notification when switching that allows the action to be quickly reversed.