Google finally launches a dedicated podcast app for Android

Google launches dedicated podcast app for Android

Google has finally got around to launching a dedicated podcast app for Android on Play Store and it’s not just a straightforward audio player.

In a direct answer to Apple’s own podcast app, Google Podcasts will include access to a vast library of more than two million podcasts. It will sync across virtually all Google devices, including Assistant, Home speakers and search.

This means that if you’re listening to a podcast on your phone during a commute home, Google say you should be able to resume it seamlessly on your Google Home system.

Tantalisingly, the new app will introduce AI-driven features in the months ahead. It’ll not only read along with a podcast in one of many languages with its automatic transcription, but it will let you see what’s coming up in the episode you’ve chosen. The app will also offer proactive suggestions for material related to the subject you’re listening to so you can delve ever deeper into a topic.

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.

- Google: Blog Post

Google has launched the new product five years after shutting down Google Listen, the company’s original attempt at podcasting apps. Since then podcasts have exploded in popularity especially thanks to Apple’s innovations across its platforms.

Apple continues to dominate the consumption of podcasts but there has been a steady decline from the high of a 63% market share thanks, in part, to podcasting becoming increasingly popular on Android devices. In fact, in the last couple of years Android podcast consumption had more than doubled.

The majority of people who listen to podcasts do so on an iPhone. It’s actually so egregious that on a device-by-device basis, the average iPhone listens to over ten times more podcasting that the average Android.

- Zack Reneau-Wedeen: Google Podcasts Manager, Google

According to Google Podcasts Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen, the goal is to double the number of podcast listeners in the world by exploiting the Android market.

Google has said it’s new app will help grow ‘diversity and perspectives’ in podcasts by introducing an independent advisory panel as its guide. The hope this will see more programmes from underrepresented groups as well as innovative ideas to improve the podcasting experience.

At present, the app looks fairly straightforward. It’ll catalogue your podcast subscriptions at the top and offer recommendations at the bottom of the screen.

Episodes you’ve listened to can be automatically removed after 24 hours or seven days but for now the app does not have features such as auto-download for new podcasts and it does not allow you to share audio content with friends.

Image: Casey Fiesler

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A veteran freelance journalist writing extensively on internet news and cybersecurity.
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