Google’s new podcast ‘app’ is already on your Android phone

Google’s new podcast ‘app’ is already on your Android phone

Google quietly rolled out a new way for Android users to listen to podcasts and subscribe to shows they like – and it already works on your phone.

Podcast production company Pacific Content got the exclusive on it: essentially, Google now surfaces podcast show info and episode listings in search results on your Android device, and you can tune into them right from there – no app installation necessary.

To get started, just search for a show using Google Search or Google Assistant with a query like, “bbc the inquiry podcast.”

Search for any podcast and Google will surface info and playable episodes right on the results page
Search for any podcast and Google will surface info and playable episodes right on the results page

You’ll be presented with info about the show, and a list of recent episodes that you can start playing right away; there’s also a podcasts icon at the top of the page that takes you to your subscriptions, and lets you add a shortcut to your home screen.

You can add a shortcut to the Podcasts experience to your home screen - here it is (right) on mine, below the player controls in the notification shade
You can add a shortcut to the Podcasts experience to your home screen – here it is (right) on mine, below the player controls in the notification shade

The podcast player comes with basic playback functionality and the ability to download episodes for offline listening, as well as a speed control for those who want to whiz through shows. You can also subscribe to podcasts and have them show up in a list that you can trim whenever you like.

Additionally, you can find and return to episodes you haven’t yet finished listening to, and see a bunch more shows grouped by genre, and by publisher; there are also recommendations that are popular with listeners of your subscribed podcasts. If you’re big on voice commands, you’ll be happy to know that you can also find, play, and resume episodes on any of your Android or Assistant-powered devices.

See information about podcasts and individual episodes, and find more shows
See information about podcasts and individual episodes, and find more shows

While dedicated podcast apps offer more features and flexibility, this is a great way to get started listening to shows you’ve been hearing about.

Google added support for podcasts to its Google Play Music streaming service back in April 2016, and it looks like this is the company’s way of making podcasts more widely and easily accessible to Android users. It makes sense, given that the space has grown steadily in the past couple of years, and marketers have substantially grown their ad spending (up from $69 million in 2015 to $220 million in 2017) accordingly.

It’s possible that this lightweight experience may eventually be rolled into a standalone app that you can download from Google Play, but the company hasn’t yet shared specifics about that – or even whether it’ll come to iOS.

Ready to get cracking with your first podcast? We rounded up some of our favorites for food nerds and crime buffs that you can get started with.

Are you using Google’s new podcast experience on Android, or do you already have a preferred app of choice for the job? Let us know in the comments.

The Next Web’s 2018 conference is just a few weeks away, and it’ll be 💥💥. Find out all about our tracks here.

Read next: YouTube removed 6 million sketchy videos before anyone ever saw them in Q4 2017