GOOGLE IS SEEMINLY all about patching up holes in its app armoury. As well as Google Tasks, we've now seen the arrival of Android Messages, allowing you to SMS across web and mobile.
Now, the latest arrival is a standalone Google Podcasts app, designed to bridge the gap between the outgoing Google Play Music and the incoming YouTube Music. It also officially replaces the experimental Google Listen service which wasn't replaced after it went south in 2012.
Being Google in 2018, the app uses AI to try and match you with podcasts it thinks you'll enjoy based on all that creepy data it has about you. How does it do this so well?
Basically, because it's another shortcut app. In fact all the podcast functionality is part of the generic 'Google App' and as such will play incredibly nicely with Google's range of home assistants.
The AI aspect will prove particularly useful, then, as it will make Google Assistant seem very smart at picking the right podcast when asked.
Amongst the planned features of Google Podcasts, some of which will be available at launch, are AI auto closed-captioning, variable playback speed, skipping forward and back 10 or 30 seconds,
Google Podcasts is free of charge and in deference to years of fighting tooth and nail to keep parity, is currently only available on Android. Apple can do the iOS stuff.
Google is also planning a scheme to incentivise and simplify women making podcasts. At present only 1 in 4 podcasts is female-led and Google is looking at ways to even that up a bit.
It is worth noting however that Google isn't paying anyone for their podcasts, so that won't be the incentive. Instead, it is concentrating on getting all the major podcasts on its platform and the word is, even on Day One, it has succeeded more or less.
As an added little flourish, Google and Channel 4 yesterday announced that they would be adding the All4 service to Google Assistant, only the second video broadcaster to sign up, after Netflix, ahead of the launch of Smart Screens this summer. µ
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