Last year, we learned that Google had big plans to absorb its Podcasts content directly into the YouTube user experience and even appointed a new leader to clean it all up and make it presentable in the video streaming app. At that time, we had no idea what that would look like in practicality, but today, we got our first glimpse at a new Podcasts Explore section in the core YouTube experience.
It’s no secret that the podcasting content found on the second largest search engine in the world is a hot mess right now, but one thing is for certain – even without many creators being migrated over, there are tons of listenable videos that millions of people enjoy on a daily basis.
A new “Podcasts” icon now appears on the Explore page of the YouTube app and website, and clicking on it will filter out this type of content on your behalf. Yesterday, visiting youtube.com/podcasts would give you an error, but now, it takes you to a curated list of popular channels with long-form audible videos that you could easily click your screen off and listen to in the background with Premium.
Additionally, visiting the “Popular podcast creators” section will show you what looks more like Google Podcasts itself. A grid layout of podcast channels and their branding for quick and easy browsing. Sadly, the entire thing feels as though it’s in its early stages. There’s no dedicated podcast episode view, descriptions, or anything else that remotely resembles the company’s core listening experience, but I have a feeling that, along with the complete migration of Podcasts creators and their backlog of episodes, will occur before long.
Once you do begin playing anything from this Podcasts section on YouTube, you can easily enable the new ‘Listening controls‘ feature that’s baked directly into the player. Doing so will give you larger playback buttons that more closely resemble Google Podcasts. You do still need to exit listening controls in order to view and leave comments, browse recommended or related videos, and so on, so it’s not a perfect solution, but it does suffice on the go when you’re not actively interacting with your device.