UPDATE: The actual app is available now. –Paul
There’s no official announcement yet, but Google Podcasts is now available. You just need to know where to look.
I first wrote about Google Podcasts about 10 days ago, but Android Police has been all over this release in the making. And not coincidentally, that site tipped me off that the official release is nigh.
Sometimes soon, you’ll be able to find and download Google Podcasts from the Google Play Store. But you don’t need to wait. Instead, open the Google app and type the name of a podcast followed by the word “podcast” in the app’s search box. (Like “Windows Weekly podcast”.) When you do, you’ll see a listing for that podcast in the search results.
Then, tap “More episodes” to see the show listing.
Here, you’ll see a few things: A Google podcast logo at the top, which you can tap to visit the Google Podcasts “app.” (Really an app shortcut, or deep link, but whatever.) And a subscribe button, which will subscribe you (your Google account ) to the podcast.
If you visit Google Podcasts, you’ll be prompted to save it to your home screen. Now you can access this deep link like a normal app.
Looking at an individual podcast, you can, of course, play an episode. But you can also select an episode to access additional options like Download and Mark as Played/Unplayed, and view the show notes.
One thing I like to do with my current podcast app, Pocket Casts, is set up the auto-download of new episodes on a per-podcast basis. I don’t see a way to do this with Google Podcasts, however: The Settings interface provides options for “Remove completed episodes” and “Remove unfinished episodes” only.
My guess is that this “app” is really about making podcasts available for streaming via Google Assistant and Google Home speakers. But Google Play Music’s podcast functionality provides auto-download functionality. In fact, it pops up when you first subscribe to a podcast. So I have to think this is coming.
Anyway, it’s an interesting start.