Sometime in mid-June, Google quietly published a dedicated Podcast App in their app store Google Play. I only came across the dedicated Google podcast app, because I was lazily exploring other apps by Google to kill some time this evening.
To check out the Google Podcast app on your Android device, search for Google Podcasts in the Play store. Be sure to not fall for one of the many third-party podcast apps by verifying the app publisher is Google LLC. This typically shows under the app name in the Play store.
The app itself is super basic, but that makes it fairly easy to navigate. It’s lacking some functionality like options around automatic downloads but in general it has most of the core features that are in other podcast apps.
If you haven’t listened to Podcasts before, try starting with your favorite radio programs. NPR staples like Fresh Air, RadioLab, Ted Radio Hour, CarTalk and more are all available as podcasts. In the podcast world I personally enjoy Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, Intelligence Squared US Debates, Reply All, and Dirtbag Diaries. There are tons more worth listening to too.
This new Google Podcast app is especially big news, because the Android OS did not yet have an answer to Apple’s native podcast app. This meant that if an Android user wanted to listen to a podcast then they had to go through third party apps. These apps have to fund their apps through ads or fees – this makes for a daunting UX. For instance, imagine having to wait 5 seconds for an ad to play before you can simply press play on a podcast.
The development of this app is important to me as a new Android user too. I’m a former iPhone user but switched to a Google Pixel phone late last fall so I could try Google’s cellular network Google Fi. I wrote an initial article on switching to Google Fi a few months back.
Recently I heard several of my favorite Podcasters mention uploading their podcasts to the Google network and I think with Google’s size and hopefully the upcoming popularity of this app, they will make it one of the first places they publish to.
I hope Google looks at this app as an opportunity to improve Android user experience and not an avenue for ad revenue. Delivering delightful UX to android users, especially new ones like yours truly should help with user retention.
So far, so good with this new Google Podcasts app. If you’re an Android user, please give it a whirl and let me know what you think.