(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Pandora listeners can now tune into podcasts courtesy of the latest update to the Android and iOS flavors of the streaming music app.

SEE: 7 best podcast listening apps in 2018

Available at Google Play and Apple's App Store, Pandora version 1812.1 not only serves up podcasts but tries to help you find the right ones. The app displays a list of recommended podcasts based on your history and interests. You can browse top podcasts and podcasts by category. And you can search for specific podcasts by name.

"We are now introducing hundreds of podcasts with over 100,000 episodes across a wide variety of genres including News, True Crime, Sports, Comedy, Music, Business, Technology, Entertainment, Kids, Health and Science," Pandora said in a recent blog post. "You listen, you thumb, and we tune the listening experience for the moment you're in."

Podcasts are a great (and free) way to stay informed and entertained about the people, places, and things that interest you. Apple provides access to a wide range of shows through its own Podcasts app. Google kicked off a Podcasts app this past June. Streaming services such as Spotify and TuneIn provide a gateway to popular podcasts. So it's about time Pandora joined the club. The new podcasts access is available to both free and paid Pandora accounts.

To get started with podcasts, check out the recommended ones. Pandora explained that it employs a project known as Podcast Genome to ferret out the right podcast episodes for you based on your tastes, preferences, and actions. Pandora looks at the items you play, skip, collect, and like. The service uses machine learning as well as in-house curators to come up with personal recommendations.

Next, you can check out what's hot among podcasts as well as those chosen by curators. From there, browse through such categories as Art & Design, Education, Games & Hobbies, Lifestyle & Health, Science & Medicine, and TV & Film. If you're seeking a particular podcast show or episode, you can search for it by name or topic.

For now, podcast access is limited to Pandora's mobile apps, so you won't find it on the Pandora website. A Pandora spokesperson said that support for more platforms is coming.

Since podcasts are new to Pandora, you may not yet find your favorite ones. I searched for specific shows that I listen to through Apple Podcasts, including "The Amazing Spider-Talk," "The Twilight Zone Podcast," "Trek Geeks," "Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend," "You Must Remember This," and "Meditation Oasis," but I couldn't dig up any of them. Pandora's description on Google Play does say that more podcasts are being added every day. As it grows, the service hopefully will include more of the favorites of its listeners.

If you're a podcaster who wants in on Pandora, fill out this form to be considered. If your podcast gets approved, subsequent episodes will automatically be added to Pandora's mix.

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  1. Pandora listeners can now listen to podcasts via the Android app.
  2. Pandora suggests recommended podcasts based on your tastes, history, and actions.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."