Well, it would seem that when Bill Simmons let slip yesterday that podcasts would be hitting Google Play Music soon, he hadn’t jumped the gun by much. Some users are now seeing the podcast integration in Play Music, but as is so often the case with Google, this is happening server side and isn’t simply part of a Play Music update.
Sadly, I find myself in the familiar position of not being one of the chosen few in the early test group, so we need to rely on screenshots from others. The folks over at Android Police were tipped to a number of screenshots shared by Curtis Bond on his LogiKBoard blog. We’ll include a few screenshots here, but hit the source link to see them all.
As you can see, things are pretty bare bones at the moment. Basic search and subscription functionality are there and the artwork displays nicely. Adding a new podcast will ask you whether you would also like to download the five most recent episodes and receive notifications when new episodes arrive.
The options for playback are one of the major areas where the app falls down compared to competition like Pocket Casts. You can simply jump forward or back 30 seconds, but there is no ability to change playback speed, optimize volume or eliminate silences.
As I said yesterday, I’m happy to see Google get back into the podcasting space, as it is far too significant a category for them to not have a solution available by default on Android. I’m sure existing podcast app makers have to be somewhat concerned that this will cost them some purchases, but from the current state of things, it is going to be a while until Google’s solution is on par with any of the top contenders.
Have any of you seen podcasts make an appearance in Play Music yet? And since many of you said yesterday you wouldn’t be switching unless Google was offering comparable functionality to your current podcast app of choice, I’d love to hear what you use right now and what made you choose it.