Podcasts have become a part of many people’s daily routine. From listening to Elon Musk on The Joe Rogan Experience during your morning commute to catching up on the latest episode of The Chrome Cast while you are making dinner; Podcasts are convenient because they can easily fit into our busy lives and can be informative or purely entertainment. Google understands that podcasts are growing in popularity and want to make it easier for you to find and listen to podcast episodes quickly.
In Google Search, you can now find podcasts directly in your search results. You can search for a podcast about a topic, such as “Chromebook podcasts” or “podcasts about Chrome OS,” and you will get episodes displayed directly in the search results along with the normal web pages, news, images, and videos. The results show up under a Podcasts heading and display each episode in a nice, scrolling carousel. This layout looks really clean and being able to simply scroll sideways through results doesn’t take up a ton of real estate on the page.
When you click a podcast in desktop Chrome it will open in Google Podcast for web; when you click a podcast on your phone it will open the Google Podcast app. If you start an episode on your computer, your listening progress will be saved and you can pick up where you left off on your phone, which is a nice touch. Any podcast episode you click will open in Google Podcasts for now, but Google has said they will soon allow publishers to specify where you can listen to their podcasts, like other podcast apps or a website.
Google Podcasts Product Manager Zach Reneau-Wedeen said in a blog post that they are using “Google’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast, so you can find even more relevant information about a topic in audio form.” It is a realistic assumption that Google is skimming podcast audio files in addition to episode transcripts and descriptions to find this relevant information, much like they do on YouTube. This should translate into it being easier to find the perfect episode you are looking for based on your search terms.
For now, this update only affects Search, but Google as said they are rolling out the same functionality to the Google Assistant and Google Podcast for the web later this year. Sure, the integration with Google Podcasts for the web will be nice, but I am personally more excited to have better podcast results within the Google Assistant. At the moment, when you ask the Assistant to play a podcast about a topic, it will just pick something randomly and you don’t get to choose the episode. This update will be especially helpful when searching for podcasts on your Smart Display like I often do when I’m making coffee or preparing some lunch.
These new features became available earlier this month for people using English in the U.S. Google did not say if or when it will be available in other languages or countries in the future. If you’d like to give it a try, search for “podcasts about Chromebooks” in Google Search and hopefully you will see some results for The Chrome Cast.
Source: Google Blog