All right. Alright.
In the world of podcasting, as most of you know, Apple has been the big player for a long, long, long time.
One of the things that points that out to us is that worldwide, more people by a long shot own and use Android phones than Apple phones however, it's almost exactly opposite when it comes to podcast consumption through smartphones.
The vast majority of podcast listeners consume their podcasts on Apple devices.
Now, why is that?
I believe there's one simple reason: it's because Apple has long had a native way for you to listen to podcasts on their devices. And by native I mean, it's built into the device - the podcasting app comes preinstalled on every Apple device.
Google, the company really behind the Android operating system has never done that.
Until now. Maybe. Hopefully.
Find out how Google Podcasts App for Android is moving in the right direction at least, and how you can discover if your podcast is available in it already (it just might be).
I’ve noticed over the years that Google is not very promotional in the way it rolls out new apps or services. They just kind of quietly do it behind the scenes, learn from those who find it and begin using it, and refine it as they go.
Over the last few months, we've been seeing this sort of thing happening again (this is June of 2018).
Google has been quietly taking steps in the direction of a podcast app for Android. First of all, we discovered that Google had kind of secretly been integrating a podcast app of sorts into Android devices, through Google search.
I don’t know enough about how the actual Chrome browser on Android integrates with other apps, but it appears that it’s an app-in-browser sort of thing. Here’s how it worked…
If you searched for the name of your podcast using the Google search app on your Android device, if your podcast webpage was set up appropriately (and any Libsyn user was already there with no effort at all - BTW), once the search results came up, you could scroll down and see some of your episodes there with a little play button next to each one.
Just below that would be a “more episodes” link that could be used to pull up a little window where you could subscribe to that show. Now, where are you subscribing to it? Well, it's right there in your phone/browser, so to speak.
And there would be a little icon at the top that looks like a little skinny stick person with radiating ears out the side of it - no, it's really the RSS feed icon that's been changed into a logo. You click on that and see your subscriptions all in one place.
That was all already baked into the search functions of Android devices behind the scenes. And we didn't even know it.
Now Google has officially announced (kind of a rare thing for them) that all of what I just described has been transitioned into what they are calling Google Podcasts.
It's an actual app that can be downloaded onto the phone from the Google Play Store. Notice - it’s a download right now, not a native app that comes on Android devices.
BUt it’s a step in the right direction. It's Google getting into the podcasting game in a bigger way.
Right now, as I'm looking at the app in the Google Play Store, there are 4887 reviews of the app so far - and it's only got three and a half stars out of five possible as an overall rating. As I read through the reviews, there are some glitches and less-than-optimal missing features currently, which is always the case with the new app.
So there are things that Google obviously needs to keep working on. But this is a huge step in the right direction.
What I would like to see happen next - and what I predict would explode the podcasting industry (in a good way) is that this podcasting app, first of all, is refined and enhanced and made better.
But then, I want to see it is rolled out as a native app - something that comes on every Android device out of the box, just like Apple does with their Apple Podcasts app.
When that happens, when people who know nothing about podcasting see that they can begin to explore podcasts without having to download anything or find an app on their own?
That is going to be a gain for every single one of us who work in the podcasting space or produce a podcast.
Imagine, people interested in underwater basket weaving (the topic of your imaginary show) can then search, easily, on their device, for podcasts that cover the topic.
Can you say, “New listeners?” Can you say, “New tribe members?” Can you say, “Hallelujah, praise the LORD, it’s ABOUT TIME, GOOGLE!?”
If you’d like to begin playing around with the options related to the Google Podcasts app, you can. In fact, you can create a link to your podcast IN the Google Podcasts app, so people who want to subscribe using that app can do so easily.
Here’s how you do it.
It's very easy. Google has provided a tool to do it - at a very long and convoluted URL - so I'm just creating a short link for you so you can easily get there - www.PodcastFastTrack.com/GooglePodcasts..
Here’s what you can expect to happen if you go there.
First, you’ll be taken to a page of Google podcast publisher tools where you can drop in your Feed URL, hit the Generate button, and it's going to create a link for you that you can then put in your description, your show notes, wherever you want to put it to link to your podcast in the Google podcasts app.
What if the person who clicks on the link doesn’t have the Google Podcasts app?
It's going to take them to the download page, and they can install the app on their Android device. If they do have the podcast app, it should open up IN the app on their device.
On that same page of Google Podcast tools, you can drop your feed URL into a second field and preview your podcasts in the Google search results/ Google Podcasts app.
I think it’s worth a try. In fact, you should be able to see that option in the subscribe buttons on this very page. :)
So - Google Podcasts.
What do you think about that? I think this is obviously a great step in the right direction. Mainly because it’s Google doing it.
The company has the influence, the tech, the power, and most of all - the control over the Android ecosystem - that enables them to make this a really big thing for podcasting. In fact, on a recent interview, the guy in charge of their entire podcasting program (Zack Reneau-Weden) has said that they are aiming to increase podcasting significantly through this move.
I would love to receive your feedback about what you think about the Google Podcasts app and what it means for podcasting.
Have you used it? What do you think of it? What features does the Google team need to include that aren’t there yet?
I also encourage you to share about this on social media, even share directly with the Google team to encourage this to make the app native on all Android devices.
If we can give Google the help they need to understand the user experience and make changes, they’ll do a better job of getting things tweaked and ready for the explosion that they could initiate in the podcasting world.