Google has unveiled the long-awaited podcast app, but it looks more like a beta test for now.
The company Apple is considered the ancestor of podcasts, even the word itself comes from the iPod. Podcasts are still the strong point of the system iOS, they have a separate application with a huge catalog. In this regard, Google is far behind: in April 2016, a section with podcasts for the United States and Canada appeared on Google Play Music, but this one never appeared in Russia. In a separate article, I talked about how to make Google podcasts work in Russia, but now there is no point in these actions. Two years after launching podcasts on Play Music, Google is introducing a separate podcast app called Google Podcasts.
Apparently, Google is gradually introducing a new concept for its applications, or just testing it. The first step towards this was the Google Tasks application, which has a new minimalist design with a basic set of functions. Google's podcast app is pretty much the same.
The Google Podcast interface is not divided into tabs, there are no additional sections, but only the start page, on which all the necessary elements are located. All subscriptions, new podcast episodes, and downloaded episodes are shown as soon as you launch the app. If you scroll a little higher, you will see a feed with podcast recommendations on different topics and according to the user's taste.
I was pleased with the Google Podcasts catalog. In it I managed to find all the Russian-language podcasts that I listen to through Pocket Casts, including little-known and old ones. So in this regard, Google is well prepared for the launch of the service in Russia. However, one important drawback of the player is associated with search – you cannot add a podcast via RSS, only by title or author, the standard podcast application in iOS can do this.
Podcast icons from subscriptions can be rearranged in a separate menu. The settings section in the application contains only two items – automatic deletion of listened and unheard podcasts after a certain time, or do nothing with them at all. You cannot customize anything else in this player.
When you open a podcast, a header is shown with a title, logo, description and a button to subscribe. Below is a chronological feed of episodes. The episode tab shows the publication date, podcast length and file size, and a description. At this point, I want to point out a flaw in the Google podcast player – it doesn't work with timecodes. That is, the recording cannot be rewound through the key points that are placed by the creators of podcasts, but only manually search for the right moment.
The player interface is as minimalistic as possible and takes up only a third of the screen. There is even nothing to talk about here – from the additional functions there is only the adjustment of the playback speed. There is no software increase in volume, automatic skipping of moments of silence in recordings, and there is not even a timer, which is, for example, in Play Music. There are still no notifications about new releases, restrictions on downloading files via mobile communication and many other useful functions.
I would also like to note the bold minus of Google Podcasts – the application does not have a widget. After all, this is one of the main features Android, which Google for some reason did not use in its own application. Well at least it is possible to control playback from the notification curtain.
Google has released a handy and beautiful podcast player that the company has long been waiting for. This should make podcasts more popular. I like the concept of new applications from Google with a minimalistic interface, but the developers overdid it with simplification and for some reason in Google Podcasts did not make the basic features of all players.
For now, this version looks more like a beta test, so I hope they take into account the first user feedback and add at least a widget and a shutdown timer. In the future, it could be a great alternative to paid apps for Android. For now, I can only recommend trying Google Podcasts to explore the world of podcasts and at the same time see the beautiful new interface from Google.