What Is Google Podcasts?

The Free Standalone Podcast App for Android

Google Podcasts logo

Google LLC

Google Podcasts is Google's first take on a standalone app for podcasts. The free app for Android is integrated with both Google Assistant and Google Home, and is fairly minimalist, sporting an uncluttered interface and a handful of features.

Although Google Podcasts isn't quite ready to compete with the plethora of third-party podcast apps for Android, it does have great potential. One of Google's goals is to eventually use artificial intelligence to improve the listening experience.

How Google Podcasts Works

The Google Podcasts home screen displays available podcasts sorted into categories, such as Trending, Society & Culture, and Comedy. After subscribing and listening to podcasts, your home page changes to show more targeted recommendations based on your listening activity.

Choose any podcast from the home screen to learn more and see recent episodes, and tap Subscribe if you like what you see. Some podcasts, such as those from NPR, also have a Donate button you can use to support the podcast.

Google Podcasts app for Android

Podcasts you're subscribed to are listed at the top of your home screen. From there are lists of new episodes, episodes you're currently listening to but aren't quite finished with, and all your downloaded episodes.

From the episode description page, you can play the episode, download it, or mark it as played.

When you begin playing a podcast through Google Podcasts, you'll see a small module at the bottom of the screen with the podcast logo, the episode name, and some playback controls.

To unsubscribe from a podcast, go to the podcast's page and select Subscribed, and then Unsubscribe.

Google Podcasts Features

The Google Podcasts app has several useful features, including downloading an episode for offline listening and syncing podcasts across devices so you can quickly resume an episode. Unfortunately, there isn't a web or desktop client.

While there isn't an official way to browse through Google Podcasts from a computer, you are able to share the episode URL so that whoever opens it can listen from a web browser.

Due to its integration with Google Assistant, you can use voice commands to control Google Podcasts. Saying "Play This American Life" or "Listen to the latest episode of The Sporkful" will begin playback of those podcasts. Other commands include "next episode," "pause," and "what's playing?"

If you're listening to a podcast while commuting and you've still got an episode to finish when you get home, you can transfer the audio to your Google Home. Just say "Hey Google, play This American Life," and it will resume the episode from where you left off.

Google is also working on a speech-to-text transcription tool to add closed captioning for those with hearing impairments, and aims to translate that into multiple languages.