At I/O 2019, Sundar Pichai announced a “Podcasts about this story” feature for Google Search that indexes podcasts to surface relevant episodes by content instead of just title. Ahead of that, Google Podcasts is officially coming to the web for iOS and desktops.
When Podcasts launched last June, it was specifically for Android and Google Assistant devices, like Home speakers. Google is now bringing the service to Search for the desktop and mobile web. Looking for a podcast on Google.com will feature a card of “Recent episodes.”
Tapping any will take users to podcasts.google.com, with an interface identical to the Android experience. On iOS, selecting play will slide up play/pause controls, rewind 10 seconds/forward 30 seconds, and even playback speed. This is the same player on Android that can be minimized to read show notes. The just added sleep timer is unfortunately not available on the web.
The desktop web has an experience more optimized for the large screen, but functionality is identical. Podcasts can be used without signing into your Google Account, but login syncs playback status across all your smart devices.
Unlike on Android, there is no Google Podcasts homepage on the web. Users cannot see all of their show subscriptions or new podcast suggestions in this current implementation. Access is only available through Google Search results.
This new feature mostly benefits iOS users that also use Google Assistant devices, and provides a free podcast app that is truly cross-platform. Android users will continue to be kicked out to the full Google Podcasts app.
It is officially rolling out this week, with podcasts already appearing directly in Search results on several devices that we checked.
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
More about Google Podcasts:
- Google will bring Podcasts and Full Coverage news to Search later this year
- Google Podcasts already transcribing episodes to improve search results
- [Update: Live] Google Podcasts for Android adding episode search this week