Since last year’s launch, Google Podcasts has primarily focussed on Android and Google Home devices. A web experience at podcasts.google.com is now in development and already supports listening, syncing, and browsing episodes.
When you share a podcast or specific episode, the Google Podcasts app on Android generates a google.com/podcasts URL. This sharing capability was added last November and available by heading to the overflow menu in the top-right corner.
Clicking the link in a browser takes users to a basic page that features cover art, podcast name, and the publisher, with a link to manually open the Android app. For example, below is the link to Alphabet Scoop in Google Podcasts. This feature was an important way to share episodes in Google Podcasts beyond telling friends to manually search and subscribe.
A Twitter user today spotted how changing the host to podcasts.google.com will load a basic web experience. This includes a description of the show and a list of “Available episodes,” with the interface identical to Android. You can also play an episode, which pops up a player at the bottom of the screen, directly on the web.
Basic controls include play/pause, 10 second rewind, and 30 second fast forward, as well as playback speed adjustment from .5x to 3x. At the left is cover art and other podcast details, while a timestamp is available on the right. Overall, this UI is similar to the desktop experience for YouTube Music and Play Music.
While fleshed out in some regards, there are several elements that this desktop web experience lacks. Visiting podcasts.google.com redirects to an about page that describes the service and links to the Android app. Before the website reaches feature parity, a homescreen and search is definitely needed to easily navigate between shows. At the moment, users have to first get the path from Android and then manually enter the URL. There is also no way to subscribe on the web.
This current state is very much reminiscent of the pre-launch Android experience, with Podcasts featuring no homescreen and relying on Google Search to find new shows.