In brief: Google is making good on its promise to bring podcasts to YouTube Music. In a recently published support document, Google said listeners will be able to consume podcasts on-demand, offline, and in the background, and also cast them to other devices like Bluetooth speakers without the need for a paid YouTube Music subscription. Users will also be able to switch between audio and video versions of podcasts in the app.

Podcast recommendations and unfinished episodes can be accessed from the Home tab in the YouTube Music app. You can also tap the Podcasts tab at the top to filter suggestions.

Google teased that podcasts were destined for YouTube's streaming app back in February. The integration should help the app better compete with rival services like Spotify, which recently announced it now has 515 million listeners of which 210 million are paying subscribers. At last check (back in November), YouTube said it had 80 million combined Music and Premium subscribers globally although that figure included members actively in trial accounts.

YouTube Premium, formerly known as Music Key before being changed to YouTube Red and ultimately Premium, is a separate subscription service that affords ad-free access to content found on YouTube.

Adding podcasts to YouTube Music may seem a bit unusual, especially considering Google already has a dedicated podcast app and YouTube proper also supports podcasts. The move could be a step towards streamlining some of its offerings… or perhaps the exact opposite. After all, Google does have a reputation as it relates to fragmented product lines.

The rollout is now under way for listeners in the US and is happening gradually so if you do not see it yet, hang tight. Google said podcasts in YouTube Music would eventually be available to folks in other regions but did not have any concrete details to share.

Google has also posted a support document for podcast content creators to help them get the most out of the new integration.

Image credit: Chris Lynch