What Is the Google Podcasts App?

The free standalone podcast app for Android

Google Podcasts (formerly Google Play Podcasts) is Google's standalone app for podcasts. The free app for Android and iOS is integrated with both Google Assistant and Google Home and is fairly minimalist, sporting an uncluttered interface and a handful of features. Google Podcasts is also available on the web.

The Google Podcasts app is just one of many podcast apps for Android and iOS. A goal of Google's is to use artificial intelligence to improve the listening experience.

Google Podcasts is available for all Android users, iPhone users running iOS 12 or later, and on the web.

How Google Podcasts Works

The Google Podcasts interface is similar for Android and iOS, while the web version, at podcasts.google.com, is simpler.

The app has three tabs: Home, Explore, and Activity. The first time you use the app, your Home screen is blank except for a prompt to add your favorites.

Google Podcasts on iOS.
Google Podcasts on iOS.

After subscribing and listening to podcasts, your home page changes to show more targeted recommendations based on your listening activity.

Explore has a search bar as well as tabs for categories, such as News, Culture, Comedy, and Technology. Activity shows your queue, podcasts you've downloaded for offline listening, your listening history, and subscriptions.

Google Podcasts on Android.
Google Podcasts on Android.

On the web, you'll see a list of top podcasts by category with a search bar at the top.

Google Podcasts on the web.

Choose any podcast from the home screen or Explore tab to learn more and see recent episodes, then 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.

Subscribing and listening to a podcast in the Google Podcasts Android app.

Podcasts you subscribe to are listed at the top of your home screen. From there, you'll find 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, 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 tap Subscribed, and then select Unsubscribe from the pop-up menu.

Google Podcasts Features

The Google Podcasts app has several useful features, including downloading episodes for offline listening and syncing podcasts across devices to quickly resume an episode. In addition to Android and iOS, you can also browse through podcasts and listen to them on the web.

Due to its integration with Google Assistant, you can use Google's voice commands to control Google Podcasts on Android. A few examples:

  • Play This American Life
  • Listen to the latest episode of The Sporkful
  • Next episode
  • Pause
  • What's playing?"

If you listen to a podcast while commuting and you still have an episode to finish when you get home, you can transfer the audio to your Google Home. Just say "Hey Google, play <podcast name>," and it resumes the episode.

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.

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