A mere 6-months after it was announced, Google has today launched podcasts on Google Play Music, bringing discussions from great podcast networks like TWIT, Nerdist and Dan Carlin to listeners in the US and Canada.
The launch of podcasts on Google Play Music is starting on the web, but will roll out to the Android apps.
Google is attempting to do what they’ve been doing with their contextualised playlists for music, with podcasts; offering you ‘podcasts based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in’. It’s all about covering what people who’ve been listening to podcasts for years, as well as podcast newbies.
Discoverability is what it’s all about, finding podcasts that interest you. Podcasts on Google Play Music will do a few neat things. Once you subscribe to a podcast you like, the last few epidodes will automatically download and you’ll also get notifications when a new episode arrives.
There’s already a large supply of podcasts pre-populated into the podcasts section of Google Play Music. Joe Rogan and Marc Maron and Dan Carlin have their podcasts there, as does Chris Hardwicks Nerdist network.
Though limited to an initial select few podcasters, the availability will open more widely soon with Podcasters able to add their own podcasts to Google Plays selection through a dedicated ‘podcast portal‘.
Google has often been accused of entering an active space and effectively cutting out the middle man when it comes to services. Though this is the second time they’ve attempted to get in to podcast delivery apps, though their first app: Listen, didn’t fare too well.
Popular podcasting app Pocket Casts, developed here in Australia by Shifty Jelly is one of the major players in the podasting app space. Russell Ivanovic from Shifty Jelly shared his thoughts about the launch of podcasts in Google Play Music back when it was announced last year, saying they are happy with the decision. He went on to say:
If Google can introduce people to podcasts who don’t really listen to them then that’s better for all of us. The more that medium grows the better we do.
And we’re positioned at the top end of it all as a premium app for people as they realise they like podcasts and they want to get more out of it than the basics that Google can offer them.
Apple did a similar launch of a dedicated ‘Podcasts’ app on iOS, attempting to corner that market by pre-installing the app on all iOS devices – it didn’t work. The Shifty Jelly team noticed that sales actually went up in the wake of the launch, which Russell put down to people, having discovered the wonderful world of podcasts, wanted to find a better way to manage their podcasts and listen to them.
In terms of availability, as the title says it’s limited to the US and Canada and Google has not announced any plans for rolling it out further. We’ll be at Google I/O next month and if we find a product manager we’ll definitely be asking them about when we’ll see this here.