Android users have had Google Podcasts since last summer, but iOS and desktop users have not. In 2019, Google has taken their first step into a larger world. iOS and desktop users will now be able to take advantage of the search giant’s straightforward listening interface.
Google being Google, the company will try to push you towards its product when you search for a podcast title — behavior that led to the BBC removing its shows from Google Podcasts. On desktop, Googling the name of your chosen podcast (hopefully, The Lazy Geeks) will bring up a list of recent episodes, and clicking one of those will take you to podcasts.google.com to listen.
Annoyingly, going directly to podcasts.google.com doesn’t give you the app — it just directs you to download the smartphone product. To get to the play interface, you have to choose an episode of a particular podcast in search.
However, it’s handy that if you’re signed in to Google, your account remembers where you got up to in the podcast and syncs it across your devices, so you can continue where you left off.
Google Podcasts’ Head of Product Zack Reneau-Wedeen demonstrated the new functionality on Twitter, pitching it as a way to make audio a “first-class citizen” across the company’s portfolio:
Rolling out this week you'll be able to search for and play podcasts directly in Google Search across Android, iOS, and desktop browsers, a step toward making audio a first-class citizen across Google. pic.twitter.com/29ohC7W9z8
— Zack Reneau-Wedeen (@ZackRW) May 9, 2019
Google also announced at I/O 2019 that search results will soon show podcast episodes relevant to what you’ve searched for. So if you look for a particular unsolved crime, for instance, you might get an episode of a podcast dedicated to it under the heading ‘Podcasts about this story.’
Google has always stymied itself when introducing their Google Podcast app. Not only if you want to link it to your Google Podcast link, it’s incredibly difficult. It doesn’t offer an alternate download location, to say an SD card. It is a clean and nice interface. But lacking so much behind the scenes, almost any other podcast catcher is better.