Google Podcasts Now on iOS

Zack Reneau-Wedeen, product manager for Google Podcasts:

But you should be able to find new favorites in minutes, not years. We’ve redesigned the Google Podcasts app to make it easier to discover podcasts you’ll love, build your list of go-to podcasts, and customize your listening. To support listeners on more platforms, we’re also bringing Google Podcasts to iOS for the first time and adding support for subscriptions on Google Podcasts for Web. Regardless of the platform you’re using, your listening progress will sync across devices, and you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.

The new app is organized around three tabs: Home, Explore and Activity. The Home tab features a feed of new episodes and gives you quick access to your subscribed shows. When you select an episode you want to listen to, you’ll now see topics or people covered in that podcast, and you can easily jump to Google Search to learn more.

Seems to me that Google has never really made an effort to get serious about podcasts. Maybe this is it. I kicked the tires on the iOS client for a few shows today, and it’s pretty decent, and surprisingly iOS-like for a Google app. (Some strange decisions on line breaks with even slightly long words like “Coronavirus” though.) The integration with Google search for related topics is clever and unobtrusive — there if you want it, easily ignored if you don’t.

Two more things: (1) No iPad support — it just runs as an iPhone app on iPads; (2) I don’t get the icon at all. What is that supposed to be?

Update: A few readers have pointed out the oddness of shipping on iOS first. I’m not sure what the explanation is there, but on iOS, Google Podcasts is a brand-new app. It didn’t exist until now. On Android, Google Podcasts has been out for a while, and it looks mostly the same. When I was testing it today, I was playing with it on both iPhone and Pixel 4. The currently-shipping version on Android looks mostly the same, but lacks the main three-tab interface at the bottom.

As for the icon, folks say it represents a waveform. If you say so. To me it looks like a knock-off of the new Slack icon.

Thursday, 26 March 2020