Google is Bringing Podcast Support to its Entire Ecosystem

Posted on April 24, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Cloud, Google, iOS, Mobile, Music + Videos, Smart Home with 8 Comments

Google is Bringing Podcast Support to its Entire Ecosystem

To date, Google’s podcast strategy has amounted to adding podcast support to Google Play Music. But the online giant is secretly working to bring podcasts to its entire digital ecosystem. And the way it is doing so is, frankly, pretty brilliant.

In a move that was first reported by a podcasting blog, Google is integrating support for podcasts into its core Search service. That way, your podcast listening experience will work seamlessly across your phone, PC, Google Home, and other devices.

“Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years,” Google’s Zack Reneau-Wedeen told the blog, called Pacific Content. “It’s largely going to be new people, and we’re really excited about what opportunities it will create if we can help bring them into the fold. Within our team, we think it’s an ambitious but achievable goal to have that population constitute a doubling of the industry size.”

If anything, that goal is perhaps too low.

We learned recently from Amazon that the success of its Echo devices, in particular with demographics—like old people and country music fans—that don’t typically turn to technology to solve problems, has opened up markets in unexpected ways. There is no reason to believe that Google, with the pervasiveness of Android and the quick success of Google Home, won’t see similar results.

In any event, this new effort is separate from Google Play Music’s podcast support, which makes sense: Users on both Android and Google Home can choose different default music players, and if they do, they will be locked out of that service’s podcast support. By making podcasts a separate, first-class experience in its ecosystem, Google can ensure that users can get to their podcasts from anywhere, and regardless of which music player they use. In retrospect, this is a fairly obvious move.

That this is happening without a discrete app in the Google Play Store—-or in Apple’s App Store, as this system will work via Google Assistant/Google Home on iPhone, too—is interesting. But not unexpected: If you accept that ambient computing is the next wave, then it makes sense that this sort of functionality requires only that Google’s Assistant understand and use this particular skill. Another app is not necessary.

Interesting stuff. I assume Google will detail its plans at Google I/O in May.

 

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Comments (8)

8 responses to “Google is Bringing Podcast Support to its Entire Ecosystem”

  1. Avatar

    wolters

    I love Pocketcasts but I truly welcome this, especially having converted from Alexa to Google Assistant and Google Services. Let's hope they don't mess this up...side note...I'm actually looking forward to Google I/O more than /Build this year...

  2. Avatar

    Waethorn

    I was using this months ago.

  3. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Pretty slick move, I wonder if they're going to gauge this to see if more potential opportunities exist down this path? Half of Google's mobile apps could be replaced overnight.

    On the flip side, maybe "My Google" aka My Yahoo 2.0?

  4. Avatar

    JacobTheDev

    This is good news, but it's not enough to get me to switch from Pocket Casts; I've asked them about Google Assistant integration, and they've told me that they'd love to do it, but the APIs just aren't capable of working properly with third party apps just yet. I guess there was an update to the API a few weeks ago that was a major step forward, but there's apparently no way for them to track progress on Assistant at the moment, so they still haven't implemented it.


    I really hope that Google eventually opens this system up to third parties the same way as Assistant's music integration; being able to pick Pocket Casts as my default provider and have it just work would be amazing!

    • Avatar

      beatnixxx

      In reply to Jacob-Bearce:

      I've asked (but got no answer) if Pocket Casts will be adding an Alexa skill. For now, I just paid for the web player to supplement the app, and it works fine. But being able to have my location synced and available via Alexa / Google home, etc. would be next level convenient, and I'd even be willing to pay more for it.

  5. Avatar

    Davor Radman

    There is still no podcast support in GPM for many regions. Including mine. I am in EU, and I don't have it. I also can't purchase YT REd, or GPM Family plan. I really hope Google is not turning into another MS, where only Murica exists.

    • Avatar

      George Rae

      In reply to Markiz von Schnitzel:

      These not in my country/ region usually miss the point. A company wants the most people using their product so if it's not available where you are maybe research why. Blaming the company is lazy, usually local regulations and licensing rights beyond their control are too blame. Especially in the EU who if you haven't noticed doesn't like Google.

  6. Avatar

    Daekar

    So... do I have to actively seek out each podcast when I want it to play? Or will it automatically download and notify me when they're available? Because without the latter, I feel like this is kind of pointless. I want the device to proactively handle delivery of this content for me rather than require me to make a query or request. And are they going to have a better assortment of podcasts now? Because two of the ones I want aren't available via Google Play Podcasts...

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