Feb 17 AT 11:38 PM Taylor Wimberly 14 Comments

New Google Listen integrates with Google Reader

Google Listen has been out for several months and it finally received a much needed update. The latest version 1.1 has a greatly improved subscription manager which keeps the feeds fresh and it integrates directly with Google Reader. Users can now listen to and managed their podcast feeds directly from their desktop browser and everything automatically syncs with the new Android client.

If you want to try out the latest version of Google Listen, subscribe to our BlogTalkRadio podcast. You might be able to find our show by searching for Android or you can manually add our podcast feed.

Android and Me Podcast feed: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/androidandme.rss

Overall the user interface feels a little tighter and it is easier to navigate. I use Google Reader all the time, so I like being able to see my podcasts while I am in the browser. There appears to be an issue with all the podcast icons loading, but Google is aware of the problem and working on a fix.

Version 1.1 added a bunch of new features and fixes including:

  • Subscriptions are stored by Google Reader in the “Listen Subscriptions” folder.
  • Subscribed feed items are fresh, no longer limited in size, and are available offline (and more quickly).
  • Screen “My listen items” shows queued and most recently subscribed item, with refresh button for subscriptions.
  • Subscriptions screen is a list of subscribed feeds instead of the most recent item in the feed.
  • Better control of listened state: “Mark all..” on details screen and context menus.
  • The queue is now ordered by time added (instead of publication time).
  • Settings has a “Check for new items” interval that periodically fetches new subscription items.
  • Subscriptions screen has an “Add a subscription” button since the menu item with this function was regularly overlooked.
  • “More episodes” screen now includes a “Queue new” button.
  • Help screens and splash screen have been combined.
  • The item title in the “Now Playing” mini-view is now clickable.
  • Added voice input button to search bar.
  • Play controls in landscape mode now take up less space.
  • Add “Play” to context menu.
  • Search subscriptions has temporarily been removed.
  • Share an episode function has temporarily been removed.
  • Various minor bug fixes.

*To preserve your currently subscribed feeds, please make sure you install from Market without uninstalling the previous version. Your feeds will automatically be integrated with Google Reader.

From Google: Listen from Google Labs brings podcasts and web audio to your Android-powered device. It lets you search, subscribe, download and stream. By subscribing to programs it will create a personalized audio-magazine loaded with fresh shows and news stories whenever you listen. In this release Listen is indexing thousands of popular English-only audio sources.

Source: Google Listen

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://frostygoodness.com Frosty Goodness

    Gee great. This would have been really handy BEFORE I paid for BeyondPod.

  • http://Website William

    Once again, another service that totally screws users of Google Apps. If you try and use the Popular Searches feature it gives you an error that you need to be signed in using a google account. Buzz doesnt work right for apps users, now this. Its like they dont actually want you to use apps.

    • http://Website Stephen H

      I did manage to find a way around that, although you probably have as well by now. It’s pretty convoluted, but it works.

      1) Open up the Marketplace and find an app that costs money. Any app will do, but perhaps make it a cheap one in case you screw up and actually end up buying it.

      2) Click on the app and click the buy button at the bottom of the screen.

      3) It will inform you that you cannot purchase apps with your Google Apps account and will prompt you to enter a regular Google account. Enter your information and press OK.

      4) If you have google checkout it will present you with a screen confirming your purchase. If you don’t have checkout it will ask you to sign up. In either case, just exit and go back to your home screen.

      5) If Listen is currently running you will have to kill it. Go to Settings -> Applications -> Manage applications -> Listen -> Force Stop.

      6) Run Listen and it will ask you if you want to use the google account you just linked to your account in the marketplace.

  • DistortedLoop

    @Frosty – you beat me to it! Same comment I was going to make, essentially.

    Listen was pretty useless in the prior version, so I coughed up the $6 for BeyondPod. Sounds like Listen would have now met most of my needs. I’m liking BeyondPod well enough, but I really want a solution that lets me tie my phone listening in with my desktop listening – like iTunes/iPhone sync your listened to podcasts state between desktop and phone.

    I’ll have to give the new Listen a try.

  • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

    It’s buggy after the update (just see the Google Group), and the search plain sucks. I guess, the sync with Reader would be really nice but I feel like right now it’s lacking severely compared to other paid apps (I downloaded DoggCatcher today and it seems better, though confusing).

    • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

      I must say one thing DoggCatcher does very well is video podcasts. For example, Tekzilla and, more importantly, TED – that’s an experience Listen can’t give you (though the name indeed implies it doesn’t support video). Therefore, I am going to stick to an app that supports video and we’ll see what Google cooks up later.

  • http://Website yd

    I was excited to see an update to Listen, but this is not making me happy. I’ve already noticed the update doesn’t like fastforward/rewing in a podcast all the time anymore (it’s just skipping to the start).

    But the worst part is the Google Reader integration. I like to clean out my reader items, and now I’ll always have this folder of stuff I might not listen to for weeks sitting there, in bold, affecting my read counts. :(

    • DistortedLoop

      I noticed that too (unread count in Google Reader). I’d like to be able to turn off the unread count of Listen Subscriptions as part of the All Unread Items count. I like to keep it at zero so I know when new stuff’s come in.

      Looks like it’s back to BeyondPod for me. That didn’t take long. LOL

  • http://Website kadajawi

    Oh well. I hoped that Google would fix my no 1 complaint: Add bookmarks and a “play only this podcast” option. I doubt that hasn’t been added. I’ll have a look at BeyondPod now.

    • http://Website kadajawi

      Great. Updating to 1.1 removed all the already downloaded podcasts. Awesome job, Google. At least a warning before upgrading would have been nice.

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  • http://koowie.com Koowie

    I think Google missed the mark this time.

  • nikoslazos