Activity and investment in the podcast industry are at all-time highs after Facebook, Apple, Spotify and others detailed their latest efforts last month. One big player who hasn’t responded to their new plans is Google Podcasts.
A relatively early start
Google relaunched its podcast offerings in 2018 after a failed launch two years ago, involving shows and episodes on Play Music.Its current endeavors are more dedicated experiences and Corresponds to Google Search and Assistant by extension.
Google Podcasts debuted on Android three years ago and then hit the web, including 2019 search results.The iOS app was introduced last year as a more feature-rich web client. The last major announcement came at the end of 2020, when the app gained private RSS feed support, while the past few months have seen a redesigned Now Playing screen and customizability. (And blog) advice can be better In the meantime, a few weeks ago, the founding product manager rose to a hint of the search feature for desktop / laptop, while the product lead left Google to the payment company Stripe. The past moves coincide with the broader Search organization switch
Access that corresponds to the search
The biggest advantage to Google Podcasts today is its integration with Search.In 2019, as announced in I / O, search engines started showing playable episodes. “Based on Google’s understanding of what’s being said in podcasts,” the company is moving beyond episode titles and descriptions to index and transcribe.
Soon, you won’t need to search for “podcasts” to watch episodes, making it easier to find podcasts in Search.
This gives users a natural way to recommend Google Podcasts. Meanwhile, on Android, the Podcasts experience is technically part of the core Google app, much like Assistant.With the search app’s pre-installed nature, every Android user has a podcast player out of the box to start listening. What they just discovered You can download “Google Podcasts” from the Play Store, but they basically place an app icon on your home screen.
That approach is most similar to how Apple Podcasts come pre-installed on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, while Facebook has a smaller player in its main app and is creating a more complete experience, the path that the social media company is taking. It works similar to that of Google in that it wants to take advantage of applications that many people have already installed.
Elsewhere in the landscape, Spotify decided to take the old Play Music route by combining podcasts with its main music client. Again, this is caused by most people’s reluctance to download new apps. On a little observation, I’ve seen new people in the world of podcasts simply use Spotify – through Apple Podcasts – due to the familiarity as it is their streaming service of choice already.
For Google, the job is to retain listeners who find your app through Search.One successful way is through cross-device integration. Playing progress is synced across mobile and desktop apps, as well as Smart Displays and speakers.Playback is easy through the Assistant voice commands, the Google Podcasts client is one of those simple apps. The best, with the home screen being a feed of all your episodes, while “Explore” / Search is the next tab and the last section shows your offline queue and downloads. It is aimed at people who are just getting into podcasts and have no obligations from music or all social networks.
Go the other way
Podcasts, by the nature of RSS, have always been open. This continued growth could change over the long term.Spotify leads the charge with exclusive content that can only be listened to in-app, with millions of dollars worth of offers to keep big names and personalities. On the other side of the spectrum there is an easy-to-use and built-in Anchor builder tool.
Meanwhile, this month, Apple made podcasters start charging for shows and offering exclusive content just for their paying listeners. Apple Podcasts subscriptions take advantage of the company’s massive payment infrastructure that already includes your card details through App Store and iTunes purchases to enable straightforward subscriptions. This paid method of offering extra sounds or bonuses involves uploading that content directly to Apple instead of RSS.
The Google Podcasts search alignment style creates a certain degree of openness, which could make it different, and it continues to be an open tone on the web.That said, Google is still in a position to help enough. Paid subscription podcasts are easily available, at least on Android, leveraging the Play Store / Google Pay infrastructure to make signing up easy.
When viewing a podcast from a news corner, there is a Google subscription that current publishers can use to keep paywalls free by filling out Google payment details and letting you sign in on different devices.
Likewise, it’s hard to see Google invest in original podcasts.The company doesn’t have a solid track record of providing direct financial content, as evidenced by its pullback from making famous TV shows and movies for YouTube Originals. (To support content from existing creators) and the termination of Stadia Games & Entertainment. That said, if Google’s podcasting efforts are closer to YouTube than the open web, things might be different.
Once again, Google is silent about its plans for podcasts in the face of big competition. From an industry perspective, the most obvious is that companies will begin to support paid subscriptions by leveraging their existing payment infrastructure. It will be tied to Google’s push to help news publishers.
It can also offer another way to monetize podcasts through advertising, YouTube announced last year, an audio ad to “Connect your brand to an engaging and surrounding YouTube audience.” The main goal is to reach fans. But it can also be used for podcasts due to the familiarity of the sponsor’s pause during the episodes.
On the product side of the discovery plan, Google Search podcasts could be further encouraged by associating them with “prime time”. As with YouTube today, it might be what searchers are looking for a more appropriate answer. Or chat about search terms
During the 2018 release, the company talked about how “Google Podcasts will be the launchpad for creating a better podcast listening experience using AI.” The examples referred to are captions. Automatically due to speech-to-text advancement to enable audio in loud areas without headphones and increase accessibility. This feature is easier to use than ever, but Android already has Live Caption for all the media played on your device. Another use is to translate content and make podcasts available in other languages.
Overall, Google has a solid foundation and is widely accessible across multiple platforms. However, in terms of increased competition, Google Podcasts have to announce what’s next in this plan sooner rather than later.
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