Google has finally launched a native podcasting app for Android. The app arrives years after Apple, which has had a native podcast app called ‘Apple Podcast’ on its iOS devices. The announcement has been met with a positive response by most Android users.
The app is not new, per se. The search giant had kept its podcast app buried within Google Assistant and Assistant-powered smart speakers for playback of flash news for sometime now. With the launch of Google Podcasts, the player built into Assistant has received a new lease of life in the form of a standalone application. Last week, the IAB shared that revenues for the podcast industry were up 86 percent from last year and Google can now pitch a serious distribution network to podcast creators.
For long, the most viable option for people to listen to podcasts on Android was to download the paid app known as Pocket Casts. While the app is legitimately one of the most well-designed applications out there, it doesn’t integrate natively into the Android ecosystem. Google, being the controller of the Android ecosystem, has the potential to integrate its Podcasts app right into the platform and push it to several billions of devices.
If you have played a news briefing via Google Assistant then the new Podcasts app will feel home to you. It has a simple interface structured around Material Design that shows top podcasts, trending podcasts and surfaces personalized recommendation for your next favorite podcast. As you use the app more often, it also shows a ‘For You’ tab at the top with quick access to any in-progress podcast, access to newer episodes and downloaded podcasts.
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Yes, Google is not alone here. Apps like Overcast, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, Chorus and others also offers similar functionality. Google’s only advantage is the native functionality and it now has the ability to expand the reach of podcasts to multiple Android users around the world.