Podcasts are a weird piece of Android, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. Contrast it with Apple’s podcast integration and you get a pretty ugly picture, for example. On an iPhone, podcasts have their own standalone app called Podcasts, users have a full library and store to browse and store their favorites, and there are enough features to make the app a solid, if bland, implementation.
On Android’s side of the fence, that’s not a pretty picture. Up until semi-recently there was no native way to handle podcasts besides loading them in your music player and hoping for the best, which resulted in third-party apps being a necessity. Now you can get some podcasts in Google Play Music, which works, but GPM isn’t getting much love these days. You can also check out podcasts in YouTube, which makes way more sense, but you’ll need YouTube Red for background play, and I feel like most people will scoff at a subscription fee like that for podcasts.
It’s an untapped market, and Google knows it. There was a recent update that integrated some podcast functionality into the Google Search app directly, and it turns out that’s only the beginning. That update also brought cross-device functionality with your phone and Google Home, which is a key point in Google’s new podcast experience.
That new podcast service inside the Google app works really well, it’s just tough to regularly gain access to. In an interview, Google’s Podcasts Product Manager even acknowledged that it would make more sense for users to have a direct way to access all this new podcast stuff without the Google app, which almost definitely means we’ll have a Google Podcasts app sooner or later.
That app will be the main way Google wants users to play and manage their podcasts. Any platform where you have Google, you’ll have access to your podcasts, including your entire library, playback position, and a “store” to add to your collection.
Google wants to double the number of people listening to podcasts with this initiative, and they want to do this primarily with an underutilized Android market. Apparently there’s a huge discrepancy with podcast habits between Android and iOS, with iOS users listening to 10x as many podcasts, which is probably owed to Apple treating podcasts like a primary part of their platform, unlike Google.
So keep an eye out on Google’s moves in the next few months. We’re bound to see this podcast stuff come up in a big way, and I’d put money on a mention at Google I/O.
source: Pacific Content