Putting Google Podcasts to the test
Today I thought I’d do something a bit different with the big thought – an app review.
Earlier this week, Google launched a podcasts app for Android
. As I noted yesterday, it looks the part, with the same simple-but slick approach as the (very good) Google News app. But how does it work as a podcast player?
I’m a bit of a podcast addict – I have a set of subscriptions I listen to religiously week in, week out. If I have a busy week without much listening time, I can build up a backlog, but I still listen to them all until I’ve caught up. Pocket Casts is my app of choice, as it syncs my subscriptions and listening history across Android and iOS.
If you’re a hardcore podcast listener, you might find Google’s new app doesn’t offer you enough. There are no automatic downloads of new episodes – it seems to prefer that you stream them. You can download an episode manually if you like – once you’ve given the app permission to use your storage, which involves you being booted out to an OS menu.
There’s a list of the latest episodes from your subscriptions, but they’re listed newest first, and if you have more than one unlistened episode from a series, it will only show the latest in the list. I found myself tapping around to find workarounds to things I can easily do in Pocket Casts.
There are some strong points, though. It offers very good suggestions for other podcasts you might like, based on your subscriptions. And if you have a Google Home, you can pause an episode on your phone and continue it on your smart speaker.
These strengths lead me to hope that Google is going to develop this app into an offering with all the bells and whistles a dedicated podcast listener expects. Right now, it better serves those just dipping a toe in the waters of internet audio broadcasting.