There are currently more podcast-playing apps than you can shake a stick at, but that’s not enough for Google.
In its bid to collect as much data bout you as possible, Google has launched its own podcast app. From The Verge:
Google today is introducing a new standalone podcast app for Android. The app, called simply Google Podcasts, will use Google’s recommendation algorithms in an effort to connect people with shows they might enjoy based on their listening habits. While podcasts have previously been available on Android through Google Play Music and third-party apps, Google says the company expects Podcasts to bring the form to hundreds of millions of new listeners around the world. (Google Listen, an early effort to build what was then called a “podcatcher” for Android, was killed off in 2012.)
“There’s still tons of room for growth when it comes to podcast listening,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, product manager on the app. Creating a native first-party Android app for podcasts “could as much as double worldwide listenership of podcasts overall,” he said.
I installed the app, and wen looking for a few of the podcasters I know. I found most of them (but not all) and the ones I did find often came up twice or three times in the search results. For example, Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast was listed twice, and one of the listings was missing several recent episodes.
It looks like Google scraped one or more podcast directories to populate its app, and then it forgot to clean up the data set by removing duplicate entries.
The app isn’t close to being ready now, but it might be getting features that would make it worthwhile to switch.
In the coming months, Google plans to add a suite of features to Podcasts that are powered by artificial intelligence. One feature will add closed captions to your podcast, so you can read along as you listen. It’s a feature that could be useful to people who are hard of hearing or for anyone who is listening in a noisy environment. (I usually miss a few minutes of the podcasts I listen to every day, thanks to a noisy subway ride.)
I don’t listen to podcasts (people talk too slow) but this might tempt me to start. I’d love to play a podcast at 2x, turn the sound off, and then just read it.