Google Podcasts is Live

Posted on June 19, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, Music + Videos, Smart Home with 8 Comments

Google has released its new Podcasts app globally to the Play Store, giving Android users another option for listening to audio content.

“Integrated with the Google Assistant across your devices and packed with personalized recommendations, Google Podcasts is designed to make it easier than ever for Android users to discover and listen to podcasts,” Google’s Zack Reneau-Wedeen explains. “With Google Podcasts, you can listen and subscribe to any podcast. Beyond the podcasts you already know, Google Podcasts uses AI to offer recommendations based on your listening habits, such as your interest in sports or true crime, or podcasts from a particular network.”

As I noted in my earlier hands-on article, Google Podcasts doesn’t support episode downloading. But it does sync your progress across devices, so you can do things like listen to an episode in the car and then finish it using a Google Home smart speaker at home.

Google doesn’t address downloading—which is necessary for offline usage—but it says it will be improving its podcast experience over time with AI.

“As speech-to-text technology continues to improve, we’ll be able to provide new features like automatic subtitling, which is especially helpful if you are hearing impaired or in a noisy area without headphones,” Reneau-Wedeen says. “Powered by Google Translate, subtitles can then be made available in a wide variety of languages, further improving access to podcasts.”

You can download Google Podcasts for Android from the Google Play Store. No word yet on whether it’s coming to iPhone, but I assume so.


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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Google Podcasts is Live”

  1. wolters

    I used it a little during lunch...clean, smooth interface and no problems playing. Will continue to test and run along Pocketcasts.

  2. MarkH

    To be fair, it does support downloading if you tap on an episode title and then the download button, but no, it didn't support automatic downloads (which I suspect is your bigger issue)

  3. ponsaelius

    Pocketcasts seems to be the superior product in terms of features. Google's Podcasts looks pretty basic. At least it is something if you are invested in the Google ecosystem.

  4. Nicholas Kathrein

    This is more a streaming play instead a download and play it later model, which let's be honest, is how podcasts have always been because they came from a time when good internet access on our devices was not available everywhere / anywhere and now that it is for most on demand streaming is where things are moving. I mean lets look 10 years out. You think people will really be downloading stuff which take up space on the phone and other devices when you really don't need to?

    • nickpullar

      In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

      I download podcasts so I can listen to them on the plane and other locations with poor/no Internet access and/or roaming problems, so I think until you can roam anywhere with great reception, there will be a case for downloading to your phone, even though it takes up space.

    • the_real_entheos

      The space podcasts take up, is so irrelevant because you seldom keep more than a few episodes of each. Unless you have an older "premium" iPhone with 16GB I guess. That and even the best cellular networks are going to experience some hiccups while traveling, which causes you to look down at your device, which is not good.
      In reply to Nicholas_Kathrein:

  5. MutualCore

    As usual Google rewriting everything. Didn't they have podcasts inside Google Play Music?

  6. thisisdonovan

    Doesn't include downloading? That's a pretty basic and important function they haven't included.

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