Hands-On with Google Podcasts

Posted on June 19, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, iOS, Music + Videos with 12 Comments

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.


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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Hands-On with Google Podcasts”

  1. wolters

    Thanks for the tips Paul. I will give this a shot.

  2. JacobTheDev

    Interested to see how this affects third-party podcast apps; will Google Home become viable for Pocket Casts, or remain locked-in to Google for podcasts? Currently, the Pocket Casts team says they can't implement Google Home support because Assistant doesn't report back play positions. That means that your podcasts would very quickly get out of sync when asking Google to play a podcast on Pocket Casts vs Google's native podcasting features.

    • bassoprofundo

      In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

      Yes, sync is critical. I have GHs all over the house and would love to be able to just ask for it to continue where I left off in an episode directly, but for now, I'm stuck chromecasting from a device in PocketCasts. #firstworldproblems, I know, but nonetheless...

  3. Simard57

    i do not see the podcast icon on a Tmo Moto Z

  4. bgoodbody

    Can't find google app in google play store

  5. Stooks

    "There’s no official announcement yet, but Google Podcasts is now available. You just need to know where to look."

    And that is Google on product messaging.....dazed and confused.

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to Stooks:

      As someone who tried to find PocketCasts on the Windows store, I don't think Microsoft is much better. You can find it there now easily.... but I kept getting videos for cats and apps for pockets and cats too.... If only Microsoft had a search engine they could use for the store...... I'll use to Google to see if they have one

  6. eljay1987

    Needs a dark theme.

  7. Lauren Glenn

    But is it audio only like Play Music is? I'm still sticking with PocketCasts as there's a Win10 app and it all syncs between devices while doing video.

    iTunes still is the best though but even that is missing auto transcoding to SD devices (like iPod Classics).... man, I miss Zune when it used to transcode any video to the Zune that wasn't compatible without much hassle.

    Also, this will be Android only so I'm out. :/

  8. wunderbar

    funny how you post that literally an hour before Google actually announces the full app.

  9. Lloyd

    It seems to only handle audio podcasts. I guess they expect people to get their video from YouTube. It also fails to support Android Auto.

    My preferred player, and Paul's stated preferred player, Pocket Casts supports both of these.

    I can understand going live without support for video podcasts, but I don't understand failing to support Android Auto, their own platform. Even Google Play Books supports Android Auto for playing audiobooks, and it did as soon as Google launched their audiobook store.

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