Google Play Music's podcasts are handy however lack options

Google introduced final fall that it will lastly convey podcasts to Google Play Music, and final week a set of exhibits debuted within the net app. Because of this if in case you have a subscription to the service, all your listening materials is in a single place — simply like Spotify. You will not want to make use of Stitcher, Pocket Casts or the wish to take heed to exhibits. However is Google’s new integration the best choice? I have been ready for the function to reach on the Play Music Android app, and now that it has, I can supply some impressions.

Gallery: Google Play Music podcasts palms-on | 10 Pictures

An enormous factor Google’s new podcast providing has going for it’s comfort, particularly for those who’re a Play Music subscriber. Podcasts can be found from the Music app’s principal menu alongside choices for prime music charts, your library, new releases and extra. You do not have to obtain one other app and futz with the setup since podcasts seem identical to different streaming content material. As you may anticipate, the primary podcast touchdown web page is a prime chart of the favored exhibits throughout all classes.

There is a useful drop-down menu for classes above the record of fashionable podcasts, permitting you to filter out every little thing however the comedy choices, for instance. Every present tile on the internet has a play button so you’ll be able to hearth up the newest episode instantly in addition to choices for subscribe and share. On cellular, you even have to pick a present and head to its web page earlier than you are capable of hit play.

Google Play Music's podcasts are convenient but lack features

On that foremost podcast web page, there’s additionally a tab for “Your Podcasts,” the place all of the exhibits you’ve got subscribed to reside. That private library is a mirror picture of the highest charts on the primary web page: a grid of paintings and present titles with fast-play performance that begins with the newest episode. This tiled association of podcast choices is widespread in different apps, together with Pocket Casts and others. Once more, you will should faucet by way of to a present’s touchdown web page to hit play on cellular. Right here you will additionally discover a record of episodes with a quick description of the podcast itself.

Every choice has the standard title, description, date and run time, however if you wish to see the complete episode notes, you will should click on the knowledge icon to browse them. Tapping that “i” icon additionally reveals the choice to obtain an episode for offline listening contained in the Play Music cellular app. When you begin an episode, the run time flips to point out the time remaining in case you’re listening on a desktop, letting you already know for those who can end what you began on the workplace throughout your night commute. Sadly, that run time does not flip to a countdown on cellular, so the one approach to see how a lot time is left is to swipe over to the audio participant.

There are additionally podcast stations for all of the occasions you’ll be able to’t determine what you need to hear. Regardless of a point out and lively hyperlinks in Google’s announcement submit, I wasn’t capable of finding the podcast stations contained in the Music app. I feel this could possibly be an amazing software for discovery, however proper now it is troublesome to seek out on each the online and cellular. Stations perform the very same method as stations for Google Play’s music streaming (or any service, actually), solely the playlist consists of podcasts as an alternative of songs. For instance, the “Study One thing New” choice pulls content material from exhibits like Stuff You Ought to Know, Planet Cash and How Your World Works.

Google Play Music's podcasts are convenient but lack features

For those who’ve used Play Music earlier than, you understand precisely what to anticipate when it comes to the participant. The UI is identical as if you’re streaming music or enjoying tunes out of your library, full with Google Forged help. The one distinction is the addition of the “skip again 10 seconds” and “skip forward 30 seconds” controls. These controls are additionally out there within the Android app on the primary participant interface and from the lock display and by swiping down on the notifications bar. This implies you will not should navigate to the app to skip round or hit pause, which can come in useful for those who’re on the health club or utilizing one other app.

Whenever you begin a playlist or album, a menu icon on the participant interface gives quick access to the queue. Right here you possibly can see the record of episodes and play them with out having to go again to the present web page. Sadly, you possibly can solely clear that playlist, and whenever you hit play on one episode, it mechanically populates with extra episodes from the identical present. There isn’t any strategy to queue up the newest episode from It is a Hen, It is a Aircraft, It is a Podcast to play after you end listening to Welcome to Night time Vale or to make a playlist so you will not be interrupted by looking for one other present.

Google Play Music's podcasts are convenient but lack features

The addition of podcasts is not seamless, although, as some key options are lacking that make apps like Pocket Casts so engaging. First, the search performance is fairly horrible. If the podcast you are on the lookout for has a somewhat distinctive identify, likelihood is it’s going to seem on the prime. I had no hassle discovering Good Beer Searching, for instance. Nevertheless, if what you are after has some generally used phrases in its identify, you will see outcomes for albums, songs, radio stations and video first. The podcast outcomes can be all the best way on the backside. Pocket Casts and Stitcher each deal with search a lot better; nevertheless, they’re solely sorting by way of podcasts and never a whole streaming library. And no, there is no method to search only for podcasts in Play Music on the desktop or within the Android app. Bummer.

There are additionally a couple of notable omissions from the podcast library. Serial, Recent Air, This American Life and others aren’t out there contained in the app. It’s kind of odd, as a result of different NPR exhibits like Wait Wait… Do not Inform Me, Pop Tradition Joyful Hour and Bullseye present up in search outcomes. For sports activities followers, solely a smattering of native ESPN exhibits can be found, so you will need to go to the community’s personal app or one other piece of software program to stream these nationwide radio episodes. I solely take heed to a handful of podcasts, and I used to be capable of finding all of them save for 2: Serial, which I already talked about, and Males in Blazers from NBC Sports activities. Lacking exhibits is likely one of the downsides to Spotify’s podcast library as nicely, and it is the primary cause I nonetheless use Pocket Casts.

Google Play Music's podcasts are convenient but lack features

I’ve two major gripes with the brand new Play Music integration: the lack to construct customized playlists and the omission of a variety of common exhibits. Devoted podcast search would not harm, however I can survive with out it. If a strong function set is what you are after, Pocket Casts might be nonetheless the best choice on Android. It is well worth the $four, for my part. Even so, Google’s new podcast providing is an enormous enchancment over Stitcher, an app that goes down for days and typically weeks at a time.

Podcasts are a welcome addition to the Google Play Music app on Android. Sadly, iOS customers should wait to take benefit, and the corporate hasn’t stated when that may occur. In fact, podcasts have been part of iTunes and iOS because the leap, they usually’re solely now making it to Google’s Music app. By nesting podcasts contained in the Play Music app, Google offers a handy option to entry the episodic content material — so long as the exhibits you want can be found there.

A tech author by day and a graphic designer by night time, he was ushered in to the gadget world by an Atari and its vices: Frogger and Grand Prix. Little did he know that this was coaching for the undefeated seasons he would string collectively in NCAA Soccer (RIP). He covers the audio beat, spanning every part from headphones to streaming. He is additionally a Cheez-It professional.