Free quality audio content? Hells yeah. Google has finally released its own Google Podcasts app, a dedicated place to enjoy your weekly podcasts by Casper de Vries or to find personalised recommendations. It’s only available on Android, but with good reason.
Some Android users may remember Google Listen, the company’s first attempt at a podcast app which was shut down in 2012. Since then podcasts have been poorly supported by Google, who decided to add a few half-hearted podcast-related features into apps like Google Search and Google Play Music. If you wanted a decent podcast platform on Android, you were better off looking for third-party alternatives like Spotify or Audible.
The new Google Podcasts app integrates podcasts into Android and Google products — which is why a native Google podcast app is so welcome in a Google environment. The app features Google Assistant support, so you can resume listening to your podcast on your Google Home (if you’ve got one, of course) when you arrive home, with more podcast support spreading into other Google products in the future.
Why use Google Podcasts?
Google has big plans for the app, and is hoping to use its expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to better cater to listeners who require additional help.
Speech-to-text technology continues to improve, especially with AI applications, and Google will be able to provide new features like automatic subtitling, which is especially helpful if you’re hearing impaired or in a noisy area without headphones. With a little help from its friend, Google Translate, the subtitles can be made available in a variety of languages.
Google has also streamlined the search and recommendation service, to make finding enjoyable podcasts easier. They want to bring more diversity to the podcast space, like a wider variety of voices and shows that aren’t only hosted by bunch of vanilla dudes.
With the app, they launched the Google Podcasts Creator Program, which is designed to promote diversity in podcasting. The program will be guided by an advisory board from around the world, with the primary goal being to enable skills development and experimentation from underrepresented voices, as well as cultivating ideas and processes that can scale throughout the industry. You can enrol in the program, but Google isn’t promising anything at this stage.
Where to find it
As we’ve mentioned, the app is only available to Android users, because iOS users have Apple Music and iTunes. This is the best native podcast app available for Android right now, and if you’re looking for true integration across Google devices, it’s your best bet.