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Google Podcasts

InBrief
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Google Podcasts now includes individual episodes in search results

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For Google Podcasts to be a real contender, it needs a lot more Google (opinion)

If you search for podcast apps in the Google Play Store, you’ll come up against a seemingly endless stream of choices. From feature-packed community favorites like Pocketcasts and CastBox to all-inclusive apps like Spotify and Google Play Music, there are already so many ways to playback podcasts, which is why it was a little perplexing when Google launched Podcasts last summer.

There are theories as to why Google Podcasts exists. One possibility is that, like every product we’ve seen out of Google’s camp, it’s another ploy to help propagate the Assistant. There’s also the notion that it’s not an app for podcast enthusiasts, and that its killer feature is not quite ready.

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Google app v8.91 beta prepares Continued Conversations in German, tweaks to Slices and Collections, and more [APK Teardown]

Ever since the Google app moved to weekly releases, often with several minor updates along the way, notable changes have been spread out. This update brought the rollout of Android Auto integration for Google Podcasts, but aside from that, the last few updates have been pretty conservative with their changes. As a result, teardowns from the last few versions are getting bundled together in a single post to keep things cleaner for our readers.

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Google is rolling out Android Auto support for Podcasts

When Google released the all new Podcasts app (again), many people were surprised its stark lack of features. Many things were missing, like auto-downloading, Cast support, and Android Auto integration. While many of these things have either trickled in, or are obviously on the to-do list, Google v8.91 is finally checking Auto support off of that list.

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Google Podcasts can now share links to shows and episodes

Google Podcasts is pretty widely regarded as lacking in features its competition has — notably, you can't mark multiple episodes as played at once or set the app to automatically download new episodes of shows you're subscribed to — but it's gradually improving. Case in point: the app can now generate links to podcasts and shows for easy sharing.

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[Update: Fix is out] Google Podcasts is failing to refresh or display data for some users

Some users are experiencing issues with Google Podcasts. Upon launching the app, only one podcast loads, but no trending lists or suggestions show up, no list of downloads or progress either, or anything else really. If they tap to open the podcast in question, the episode list stars loading infinitely but never does.

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Google Podcasts finally starts rolling out Cast support

Google Podcasts received a fair amount of criticism at launch for a variety of valid reasons, but the biggest issues stemmed from a lack of support across Google's ecosystem. The app, somewhat absurdly, launched without proper Android Auto or Cast support — and offered little else to recommend it, including no option for creating podcast playlists. Now, after addressing the Android Auto issue, the app is beginning to roll out support for Cast.

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[Update: Early concept designs revealed] Google is experimenting with a new discovery-focused podcast app called Shortwave

Google has a penchant for repetition. For instance, why have one messaging app when you can have a handful (Allo, Android Messages, Hangouts etc.)? And while that method isn't exactly yielding overwhelmingly positive results, it seems the software giant is taking its approach to podcast platforms now, as well. An incubator for experimental products within Google, Area 120, is quietly developing an audio platform that, according to a recent trademark filing, allows users to "search, access and play digital audio files and to share links to audio files."

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[Update: More screenshots] Google Podcasts support on Android Auto seems imminent

Google launched its own Podcasts app back in June. It's a pretty well-rounded app with over 2 million indexed podcasts and a nice UI, but it was missing one thing that any Google-made audio app should support: Android Auto. We first noticed a 'Google' option popping up in Auto a few weeks ago, though it doesn't really work unless you start a podcast from your phone. That's probably about to change.

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[Update: Trim Silence is live] Google app v8.9.9 beta prepares search bar for settings and corrects mismatched Podcast icon [APK Teardown]

Google is rolling out its first significant update since launching Podcasts this week. For the most part, this appears to be primarily a bug fix and polishing release. There are little tweaks here and there related to Podcasts, including a corrected icon. There's also the start of a search feature for settings so people won't have to wander through several screens to configure the app as they want it.

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