Google Podcasts is Finally Growing Up

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Google, Music + Videos with 23 Comments

Images courtesy of Android Police

Google Podcasts is finally adding that most basic of features: The ability to auto-download new episodes of subscribed podcasts.

I know. It’s like expecting a word processor to perform basic spell-checking. But until today, Google Podcasts offered no way to automatically download new episodes. Now, it does. Or, it can. Apparently, this feature is rolling out to users via some indeterminate schedule. I’m not seeing it yet. But Android Police has the screenshots to prove it.

In previous versions of Google Podcasts, you could configure the app to remove complete and unfinished podcast episodes on some schedule. With the new version, there is a new Auto Downloading option that lets you determine whether to automatically download new podcast episodes, whether to do so over Wi-Fi only, and to configure individual podcasts for auto-downloading. You know, like a Big Boy podcast app.

Google launched Google Podcasts in mid-2018. I really like the look and feel of the app, but its inability to auto-download new episodes made it a non-starter. So I’ll be sticking to Castbox for now. But I could see going to Google Podcasts soon, assuming this works as expected. The Google account integration—and with related Google devices like Google Home—will be nice. We’ll see.

You can download Google Podcasts from the Google Play Store.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Google Podcasts is Finally Growing Up”

  1. CaymanDreamin

    The big thing missing for me is the ability to watch video podcasts.

  2. wolters

    Like many, I've stuck with PocketCasts. I'm just comfortable there. I'd love to try Google Podcasts, especially with Google Home options but I really want (and perhaps need) a web player too.

  3. chrishilton1

    Paul - I tried Castbox as well, it's a truly terrible app. Some of my highlights were the constant ads, walking out of the house and starting a podcast and it asking me if I want to use data to stream, checking the app and the podcast was downloaded before I walked out of the house and starting the podcast and it asking me if I want to use data to stream, it not showing or downloading the most recent episode that other apps have already downloaded, and podcasts being only a small section of the entire app. I'm sorry, but it had to go.

  4. SpeedyPS

    It is odd in the screenshots, that the version number is the same as I have on my phone, but it does not have the Auto Download new episodes feature.

    Hope its not photoshopped.

    While I have used PocketCasts for years (its great), being able to use my Google Home devices and say Play Windows Weekly (or whatever the voice command is) rather than have to go into my phone and connect it to the speaker and then go into PocketCasts and play really appeals.

  5. Winner

    I've been using Doggcatcher on Android for years. The interface is quirky but once you get used to it, it just works and works. Video, audio, variable speeds, auto-downloads, auto-deletes, policies can be set globally or by feed.

    My most indispensable application apart from the browser.

  6. datameister

    Still needs a web interface for management and PC listening, then they'll have something.

  7. Steven Ball

    I just installed the app from the Play Store, but I'm not seeing the auto download setting. The version number matches the screenshot. Is anybody else having this issue was well?

  8. bill_russell

    Pocket casts seems better lately but I like the simplicity of Google podcasts. I only listen to a handful (yes, sometimes windows weekly) so its not a big deal to switch apps from time to time. Most podcast apps just seem too complicated and bloated.

    I thought it was "refreshing" to be so light on features and so I did not complain about auto download. Since it doesn't seem to do video podcasts, why not just stream it, its nothing. Except if you are going on a plane or something.

    just add volume boost and I'd be good. But if they are going to have auto download now, then I think they should support video too.

  9. RobCannon

    I could never trust Google podcasts given their track record of abandoning projects that don't make money.

  10. dcdevito

    Meh. Hundreds of other podcast apps have more functionality and far more stable between releases, not to mention they won’t be collecting hoards of data to sell to advertisers. That’s obviously why they’re interested in this platform.

  11. Daekar

    I've tried a bunch of podcast apps, but after Pocket Casts screwed up their UI, the only one I really like us Podcast Addict.

  12. Tony Barrett

    Google Podcasts is pretty simple, but does the job. I don't want pages and pages of settings and 'features' I'll never use - just do the basics, and do them well. Being able to auto-download Podcasts will be a nice thing to have.

  13. neptune33

    I like just using in the web browser. And I think on the Android app side it has auto download and podcast of the day etc. All that stuff can be disabled. Going to need to check out Google Podcasts. I was reading when shearing a link to a podcast if you change the hosts to url to you get a basic player page on the desktop. (ref 9T05Google)

  14. james_rainey

    Still no support for Video? Or, am I missing something? Once that is added, I'm in.

  15. Ben Moore

    To Paul's mention of Castbox, I tried to like it but even with the terrible redesign of Pocket Casts' UI, Castbox was still worse. Further it never interacted smoothly/properly with the Bluetooth in my car.

    • jbhenry

      In reply to fastoy:

      Yeah I gave Castbox a try a while back, after Paul mentioned that he'd switched. But I just couldn't get used to it, and the queuing never worked the way I thought it should. I stuck with Pocket Casts, and now that I'm used to the new UI, I (still) like it a lot.

  16. jbinaz

    I've stuck with PocketCasts. I hated the redesign at first because it was too much of "who moved my cheese." I tried Castbox, but and never tried Google Podcasts. Once I actually took a few minutes to learn what moved where in Pocketcasts, it turns out I'm fine with the newer version. But man, they really did screw up the rollout of the updated version.

  17. Cdorf

    I will say PocketCasts has fixed some of the issues they had with their poor rollout - I was gonna leave too, but I am sticking with them for now. I never even tried Google Podcasts because of the lack of downloading capability.

  18. Lateef Alabi-Oki

    Still no way to add podcasts to a listening queue.

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