- Download Google Podcasts here
- The app is free and lets you download shows for offline listening
- Podcasts are currently audio-only
- Google has not announced a release date for an iOS version
Google announced the launch of a free standalone podcast app for Android today, called simply Google Podcasts. It exists separately from Google Play Music (GPM) and the video podcasts available on YouTube. Google added podcasts to GPM two years ago, but the service's music content has gotten the bulk of the company's attention. With Google Podcasts, users can now access their favorite shows more directly, and get a set of recommendations based on their interests.
What about iOS?
Google has not announced an iOS version, but it would be very surprising if it didn't come around soon. One potential sticking point: Some podcasts in Google's app have an option to donate to the creator, and Apple has strict policies about purchasing digital goods within an app. For example, Amazon's iOS app does not let you purchase digital products at all, only physical ones (because you have to pay Apple a cut for any digital goods sold). So the iOS version of Google Podcasts may need more development time to line up with Apple's app mandates, and features that involve spending money may have to be altered or removed altogether to achieve full compliance.
Either way, it's good to see Google adding the option to send financial support directly to your favorite podcasters. We reached out to the company to ask if it receives a cut of these donations (in the same way that Apple typically gets a 30% cut of iOS app purchases), and a Google spokesperson said, "We do not take a cut of any donations made within the app, and we're not currently monetizing Google Podcasts." As for the prospect of Android Auto integration, "Google Podcasts is not currently available for Android Auto, but the goal is to bring it to all Google surfaces in the future."
Google's podcasting partners are still free to insert their own ad breaks, such as what Adam Corolla does at the beginning of each episode of his show.
Checking out the interface
When you open the app, you will see a row of icons at the top for the podcasts that you are subscribed to, for easier access. Based on what you've put in that section, you'll also get a section below that labeled "For you," which recommends a recent episode of one of your subscribed shows. This section also has tabs to let you view a list of podcasts that you've started but not finished, and a list of downloads. While YouTube requires a paid subscription to download its content within the YouTube app, Google Podcasts does not.
If you keep scrolling down, you will see sections for trending and top podcasts, which are broken down further into categories like Sports & Recreation, Arts, and News & Politics. The last one is an interesting inclusion, as Google News no longer has a politics category.
What does the future hold for Google's growing family of media apps?
It will be interesting to see how Google's fans respond to another media app from Google, which joins the ranks of YouTube, YouTube TV, Google Play Music, and an overhaul of YouTube Music. However, Google has signaled that GPM is being wound down in favor of YouTube Music, so Google Podcasts looks like the next step in that transition.
- Review: The new YouTube Music
- The Best Music Streaming Apps in 2018 for iOS and Android
- The Best Live TV Streaming Apps in 2018
- Welcome to Google Play Music, the podcast episode (Google)
- YouTube Music kicks YouTube Red to the curb (CNET)
- Google Play Music gains support for podcasts on Android, web (ZDNet)
- Raise your tech IQ: Listen to these five podcasts (TechRepublic)