Since the start of this year, Google has been working on a revamped Now Playing screen for its Podcasts app on Android. Based on what we enabled, that modernization is to make way for more advanced recommendations.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

The redesign, which is currently available for Google app beta users, cleaned up the interface and made everything more compact. The Queue was moved next to the rewind button, and left an empty corresponding space at the right.

From what we’ve enabled, Google plans to place a ‘heart’ icon there that tells Podcasts to show you “more episodes like this in your recommendations.” Meanwhile, the overflow menu in the bottom-right corner lets you do the opposite: “Show fewer like this” (thumbs down). 

These options will also be available from the Explore tab where users can “Block shows from recommendations.” In settings, Google Podcasts will add a “More, less, & blocked shows” page that will list all the actions they’ve taken to impact recommendations.

Today, Google already offers a personalized “Your News Update” in the app, while the Explore tab opens to a “For you” feed that highlights shows and individual episodes that “you might be interested in” and are listened to by others that subscribe to the same shows as you. The company already transcribes episodes and surfaces them in Search.

The upcoming capabilities we enabled are not yet rolled out and still being tested. This looks to be the next step in Google’s plans for podcasting. These recommendations could make discovery an even more meaningful part of Google Podcasts and a reason for people to use it over other apps.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

Dylan Roussel contributed to this article

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