Android offers users no shortage of ways to consume podcasts, with plenty of apps ready to connect listeners with their favorite content. But for as many options as were out there, the platform’s been missing an official central repository for podcast distribution. Last fall we saw Google begin to address this oversight, announcing plans to finally bring podcasts to Google Play Music. The company announced a few early partners and started accepting sign-ups from interested producers (ourselves included), but wasn’t ready to offer a start date for the service going live – only saying that we’d see some motion in the months to come. While it’s still available for everyone, it looks like Google’s begun to flip that podcast switch on, as users share reports of the new podcast section coming to Play Music.
Beyond letting users discover individual podcast episodes, the app lets users manage subscriptions, auto-download the last several installments in order to catch up on particular podcasts, and receive notifications when new content becomes available.
Playback controls include the expected assortment of navigation options for long-format recordings, including a 30-second skip mode.
Initial reports suggest Google’s done a fine (if less than overly impressive) job here, with maybe the one notable complaint being a search feature that doesn’t easily let users restrict their query to only podcasts – there’s a tendency to get a bunch of regular songs in your results. Considering the gradual roll-out Play Music’s podcast features seem to be getting, though, perhaps Google will have even that fixed before these changes come to your phone.