Last October, we discovered that Google had appointed a new lead to clean up its Podcasts initiative. Since then, Kai Chuk, a YouTube veteran with more than 10 years of experience at the company has decided that Podcasts itself should be merged with the larger, more popular platform.
We already have a new Podcasts category on YouTube’s Discover tab, and background listening may be shifting to become a free feature for the app. Oh, and YouTube itself now has a Listening Controls feature that turns your videos into podcast-style cards – all signs that the merger is happening.
A new report by Podnews.net shows off a Google Search results page for a podcast name and compares the same search to one performed back in the day. It reveals that the play buttons and ‘recent episodes’ results for podcasts are now gone. Admittedly, the older search is from 2018, but I also recall seeing these as recently as a few months ago.
According to a Google spokesperson who replied to Podnews, everything is working “as intended”, which is code for “Hey, this is actually gone, there’s no mistake, and we just don’t want to say anything about it yet because, well, PR and a potentially upcoming announcement”.
The official response that was given had more to do with the constant experimentation Google does to “improve the user experience”, but in the past when I’ve seen this, it was a way to deter anyone who noticed these changes. Either way, I’m getting even more excited about the ability to have all of my podcasts on YouTube. Right now, many of the episodes and creators on Google Podcasts themselves do not appear on YouTube. I’m guessing Mr. Chuk is going to have to work with his team to migrate all of this across the company’s servers to the YouTube end so that the content creators need not re-upload any of it.