Google today added podcasts to Google Play Music for listeners in the US and Canada. You can keep up with your favorite podcasts via Google Play Music on the Web and on Android.

Play Music organizes podcasts by popularity and by category. But Google wants to help you discover podcasts, so it presents contextual podcast playlists based on activities or time of day, just as it does with music playlists. For example, you can find curated playlists of podcasts offering practical information or comedy.

If you subscribe to a podcast, you have the option to automatically download episodes to your Android device and to get notified when a new episode is available.

A few popular podcasts are missing, such as Serial. But many others -- including Embedded and 2 Dope Queens -- are part of the service.

Google announced its intent to offer podcasts last October and opened a portal for podcasters to upload shows. But users had to wait half a year before the company added them to Google Play Music.

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Clifford Colby follows the Mac and Android markets for Download.com. He's been an editor at Peachpit Press and a handful of now-dead computer magazines, including MacWeek, MacUser, and Corporate Computing.