Google is finally adding an app long been missing from Android: an official podcast player.
On Tuesday, the tech giant launched the new Google Podcast app on the Play Store. It’s essentially the company’s answer to Apple’s podcast offerings on iTunes; the Google app will let you search for, subscribe and play the audio content over an Android device.
That may not sound like much. After all, the Android ecosystem is already crowded with third-party podcast players that can also download and play content. But Google’s app will supposedly be a little different; the company is going to infuse it with AI algorithms to help improve the user experience.
“Beyond the podcasts you already know, Google Podcasts uses AI to offer recommendations based on your listening habits —such as your interest in sports or true crime, or podcasts from a particular network,” the company said in a blog post on Tuesday.
In the future, the app will also use speech-to-text technology to provide captioning for your favorite podcasts. Google plans on translating those captions so foreign language listeners can enjoy the content too.
In addition, the app can let you sync your podcast listening across devices, including over a Google Home smart speaker. “So if you’re listening to a podcast on your phone during your commute home, you can resume it on your Google Home when you arrive,” it said.
The search giant is launching the new product five years after shutting down Google Listen, the company’s original podcast app. Since then, the podcasting medium has boomed in popularity, but more so over Apple’s ecosystem.
“The majority of people who listen to podcasts do so on an iPhone. It’s actually so egregious that on a device-by-device basis, the average iPhone listens to over ten times more podcasting than the average Android,” Google Podcasts Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen reportedly said back in April. His goal is to help double the number of podcast listeners in the world by tapping the Android market.
Time will till if Google’s new podcast player can do the trick. The app is pretty simple at the moment. It’ll catalog your podcast subscriptions at the top, and offer recommendations at the bottom. Episodes you’ve listened to can be automatically removed after 24 hours or 7 days depending on your settings. But for now, the app is missing other features such as an auto-download for new podcasts and the ability to share the audio content with your friends.