Just yesterday, Google introduced a standalone podcast app for Android. This app is simply called Google Podcasts. Apple had owned podcasts since the time of their inception. Android users also had plenty of options in order to listen podcasts. The Google PlayStore can offer perfectly competent apps. But Google didn’t have a homegrown option after it discontinued Google Listen. But it corrected that by giving us Google Podcasts yesterday. Google believes having a native first-party Android app for podcasts can double the number of people overall who listen to podcasts.
2 million podcasts available
If you have used a podcast app before, Google Podcasts is going to look very familiar to you. Google Podcasts allows you to search for new podcasts, download them, and play whenever you want to play them, at your own convenience. On the day of launch, more than 2 million podcasts will be made available on the app, says Google.
The Google Podcasts app looks a bit minimalist. When you start using it, you are greeted with a section called For You. This section will include new episodes of podcasts you have subscribed to. There will be separate tabs for any podcasts that are currently in progress. There will also be a tab for any podcasts that you have downloaded.
A whole lot of categories
After you continue to scroll down, you will see some trending podcasts that rank as the top podcasts. So there will be top podcasts and trending podcasts. You will also see the most popular podcasts trending in categories like News and Politics, Comedy, Sports, Arts etc. You will also find a whole lot of public radio content in the initial mix.
The app will recommend you a related podcast under the one you already chose. You can play, pause, skip the podcast forward 30 seconds or skip it 10 seconds backwards. It offers 16 speeds to choose from to control the speed of the playback. The settings option doesn’t let you do much though. It can only let you remove completed and unfinished episodes.
Combined with Google Assistant
The Google Podcasts app is combined with Google Assistant. This allows you to search for and play podcasts wherever Assistant can be enabled. Google will sync your place in a podcast across all your Google products. So if you are listening to a particular podcast while on your way back home from work, you can pick it from where you left it with Google Home, once you are back to the house.
Google has plans of adding a few features to Podcasts which are powered by artificial intelligence, in the coming months. One of these features will be adding closed captions to your podcasts. This lets you read along as you listen. This feature can be extremely useful for people who have hearing problems or for anyone who is listening to a podcast in a noisy environment.
Closed captions will also let you skip ahead the podcast to check what’s coming up later in the show. You will also be able to read real-time transcriptions in whichever language you choose. This will enable you to listen to a podcast even if you don’t speak the same language as the speaker.
Supporting more content creators
Google also plans on increasing the number of people who make podcasts. Google did a research that showed only one-quarter of podcasts hosts are female. Also, there are very fewer people of color. There is an independent advisory board created by Google. They will find ways to promote podcast production outside of the only metropolitan cities that currently dominate the podcasts world. By doing this, it plans on diversifying the field of podcasts. But Google will not be paying any content creators to make podcasts directly. But it will explore ways of giving podcasts to creators who are not represented enough. Google is also trying to find ways to make recording equipments accessible to more people who can’t afford it.