Bottom line: After several failed attempts at building an app dedicated to podcasts, Google Podcasts has been launched to fill the void. Artificial intelligence, cross-device support, and standard subscription features provide everything that is needed in a utilitarian app.
As podcasts have become more popular over the past several years, Android has been lacking a proper consumption method. Options were limited to listening on video streaming platforms, downloading media files and transferring to your device, or using Google Play Music. None of the above are exactly ideal solutions. In response, Google has finally launched Podcasts on the Play Store.
Goolge's new dedicated app for Podcasts integrates with Google Assistant across different devices and will offer personalized recommendations based on use habits. If you have a Google Home, you can start listening to a podcast on your phone or tablet and then transfer to the Google Assistant-enabled speaker.
Discovery of new content is meant to be easy and can help end users find more enjoyable entertainment. Subscriptions are easily managed and can be used to help offer suggestions of relevant content.
In the coming months, Google will be adding closed captioning generated by artificial intelligence algorithms. Although captions are an accessibility feature, they will also allow for automatic live translation so that anyone can listen regardless of their native language. Listening to a computer generated voice with translated speech may not provide the same experience as hearing the original presenter, but it is an application of AI that would not have been possible just a few years ago.
For content creators wishing to have their podcasts included by Google, the requirements are relatively easy. A standards compliant RSS feed must have podcasts in it and the page must be accessible by Google's crawlers.
Over the next few months, Google will also be offering assistance to what it feels are underrepresented demographics in podcasting. Specifically, Google mentions that only one-fourth of the most popular podcasts are "hosted by women, and even fewer by people of color." All podcasters are able to apply for funding and will receive a response within a month if there is a potential for a grant.
Download Google Podcasts from the Play Store. The app is available in all countries where the Play Store is supported.