After continuing to build out its podcasting presence over the past few months, Google finally looks ready to roll out an app dedicated solely to podcasts.
Google incorporated podcasts into Google Play Music earlier this year and it looks like they are going to spin their podcasting service into a dedicated app. This will hopefully increase adoption, as many people were blissfully unaware that Google even offered their podcast service.
According to a snippet of code spotted by 9to5Google, the latest version of the Google app has a hidden prompt asking users to “Get the Google Podcasts app.” Google built out a full podcast interface several months ago inside the app, which will likely be accessible via a home screen and app launcher shortcut. Longtime Android users might remember that Google used to have an app called Listen, its first attempt at a podcasts player. But the company shut down Listen in 2012. That same year, Apple debuted its own Podcasts app for iOS, which has proven to be hugely popular.
Google has already unveiled similar home screen shortcuts for other services like the Google Assistant or Google Lens in recent months. While these services technically live inside the Google app, the shortcuts turn them into services that essentially work like standalone products. The app should give Android owners a less cumbersome option to listen to podcasts on the go.
Right now, users can track their subscriptions and browse through trending podcasts using the Google search engine on mobile, but slogging through the site can feel unintuitive and clunky. Still, a “surprising” number of users turn to the feature daily, Zack Reneau-Wedeen is the Podcast manager at Google and he told Good e-Reader that “On a device-by-device basis, the average iPhone listens to over ten times more podcasting than the average Android. We want to create an environment on Android where it’s just as easy to get started as on an iPhone, and it’s actually the best experience possible for discovering and listening to podcasts.”
Of course, listeners can also tune in on their phone using Google Play Music or via third-party apps like PocketCasts. For those curious about Google’s podcast project, 9to5Google suspects the app should appear in the Play Store at this link when it goes live, though the release date is still unclear.