Podcast support is headed to Google Play Music

Google’s secret weapon: Smart podcast suggestions based on mood and other factors.


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If you want to listen to podcasts on an Android phone today, you must venture into the app store and take your pick of third-party podcast apps. That’s going to change in the coming months as podcast support gets built into Google Play Music.

As Recode reports, podcast support in Google Play is a response to the format’s dominance on Apple devices, dating back to podcast support on the iPod. Apple now pre-loads its own Podcast app on all iOS devices, though there’s also a thriving scene of third-party alternatives . Today, most podcast listeners come from iOS rather than Android.

Still, a survey by Edison research in May found that only 17 percent of respondents—across both iOS and Android—had listened to a podcast in the past month. There’s clearly a big opportunity to get people hooked on the Internet’s equivalent of talk radio.

To that end, Google told Recode that it will suggest podcasts to users based on a variety of factors, such as their interests, activities, and moods. This is similar to how Google Play Music’s existing radio stations work. (The idea of mood-based listening comes from Songza, a company Google acquired in 2014; Elias Roman, Songza’s co-founder, is now leading the podcast project at Google.)

Google hasn’t said exactly when it will add podcasts to Google Play Music, but the feature should be available in both the Android and iOS versions of the app. For now, Google is reaching out to podcasters so they can prepare for the eventual launch.

Why this matters: Given the depth and breadth of podcasts that are available, getting started can be an intimidating process. This is doubly true on Android, where users have to acquire a podcast app on their own. If Google can nail the recommendation aspect, it could turn Android into a much better starting point for newcomers.

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