For Google Podcasts to be a real competitor, it needs a lot more Google (opinion)

If you look for podcast apps in the Google Play Store, you’ll come up against a seemingly endless stream of choices. From feature-packed neighborhood favorites like Pocketcasts and CastBox to extensive apps like Spotify and Google Play Music, there are already a lot of ways to playback podcasts, which is why it was a little bewildering when Google released Podcasts last summer season.

There are theories as to why Google Podcasts exists. One possibility is that, like every product we have actually seen out of Google’s camp, it’s another ploy to help propagate the Assistant. There’s likewise the notion that it’s not an app for podcast lovers, and that its killer feature is not rather ready. One thing’s for sure: if Google Podcasts is ever going to get a spot on my home screen, it requires to take on my established favorites. And the only method it can do that in the saturated Play Shop is by providing an edge.


Besides playback controls, Google Podcasts’ features are pretty restricted.

There’s absolutely nothing naturally incorrect with the Google Podcasts app, though there’s very little to write house about either. The app is modern-day and uncomplicated, and you can discover all the podcasts you enjoy by simply typing the title into the search bar and striking subscribe. But then, there are user interface peculiarities, ones that make that app feel entered its existing state– or a minimum of, like an empty shell that’s awaiting what’s to come.

For instance, the top-of-the-page iframe of sorts, the one where you can swipe left to expose more podcasts? It’s uncomfortable to use and feels redundant underneath the quick-access collage of subscriptions. Then, there’s details overload as you scroll down. What’s supposed to be a practical selection of tips looks more like a frustrating mess of podcast covers, with really few of them seeming appropriate to my interests. It wasn’t till I kept scrolling– and scrolling and scrolling– that something caught my eye. Less is undoubtedly more in this case, not to discuss it ‘d be helpful to be able to curate those ideas. (No shade to the manufacturers, however after all this time, the Stuff You Should Know Podcast is still not my thing!)

There’s likewise not much to Google Podcasts. It’s an app that brings you your favorite podcasts and then spits out a lot of suggestions. There’s extremely little in the way of modification for the app, and playback functions are badly limited. There isn’t even a dark theme, or auto download features, or the basic abilities of other cherished podcast apps: OPML importing and SD card storage. At the time of writing this, all Google Podcasts can do is instantly get rid of both completed and unfinished episodes.

The edge is search – smarter search

The Google Podcasts’ suggestion engine is too minimal for my tastes.

As with numerous of Google’s products, they are constant works in progress (up until they’re no longer dealing with it). It’s safe to assume that the clincher for what is going to make Google Podcasts a deserving rival to all the others that precede it is most likely associated to what the company knows so well, which is search indexing. Google has even said its objective is to “double the amount” of podcast eavesdroping the world. The ability to explore them – not simply by titles and tags, however by material itself – would assist exceptionally.

Imagine indexed podcasts. It thrills me as a podcast host. It implies all the fascinating discussions we’re hanging around recording and publishing to the internet will lastly be searchable, and we’ll no longer need to rely on generalized descriptions to draw in brand-new listeners. The hardest part of entering into a podcast is understanding whether the material will resonate in the long haul. The ability to browse would allow us to essentially “screen” a show before devoting listening time. Listening time is really precious!

That’s the other thing: Due to the fact that it’s so hard to draw in new individuals beyond the iTunes shop, Google has a real opportunity to make its Podcasts app the one that hosts mention at the end of a program. “Do not forget to rank us on iTunes and Google Podcasts,” they ‘d say. I do not utilize iTunes due to the fact that I do not have Apple products, and as much as I like the podcasts I listen to, I don’t tend to focus on leaving an evaluation for users with whom I don’t even share a platform. The Android platform needs its own synergized feed of podcast evaluations, something that might be integrated into other podcast apps. And what better way to do that than by having the internet’s main indexer make it so?

People-friendly podcasting

Google Podcasts has actually been available as a standalone app for a little over half a year, however it still has a journey ahead of it before it has the ability to change the podcast playback apps Android users have long embraced. When I asked Twitter a few days ago what they desired to change about Google Podcasts, a bulk of the responses veered towards, “Resemble my preferred app.” It’s going to be a difficulty for Google to get millions of users migrated to a brand-new app with which they have no history.

Nevertheless, if there’s one major function that Google might use to get us to a minimum of use the Podcasts app in conjunction with our favorites, it would be to refine in on those search capabilities. That’s what Google’s known for, and where it could resonate the most with every user. It might also seriously assist raise the art of podcasting to more than simply a monetizable side-gig.

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