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Google Podcasts app: an FAQ for podcasters

June 22, 2018 · Updated November 23, 2018 · By James Cridland · 3.8 minutes to read

What is Google Podcasts?

It's an in-built, simple, podcast player. The player is pre-installed on every Android phone running 4.1 or above (that's over 99%). The app is a free download from Google Play. It's available worldwide.

(It's nothing to do with podcasts on Google Play Music).

What does it look like?

Here's a video that shows how it works.

Where do my listeners download the app?

Your listeners don't actually need to. Just add a direct link on your website to your podcast on Google Podcasts, and because the player is pre-installed in every Android phone, it will play your podcast without anyone downloading anything. See the video above.

But I really want to download the app

Sure. You can download the Google Podcasts app from Google Play. It's a tiny, 100k, icon which looks like any other app, and gives fast access to the already pre-installed player.

How do I get into Google Podcasts?

You're probably already there. We did some research: 97% of the top podcasts are in Google Podcasts already. Google find you, rather than you having to submit anything. Search for your podcast on Podnews, and we'll display your Google Podcasts link if you're already there.

You can help Google find your podcast by adding some hidden HTML code on your podcast's home page. Here are full details of how to do that.

What is my podcast's direct link for Google Podcasts?

Search for your podcast on Podnews, and we'll display your Google Podcasts link if you're already there. We also have a link button builder tool that will help you add this button to your website.

Google also has a link tool of its own.

How else can my listeners listen?

They can just search for you in Google, and, on an Android phone, your podcast will appear in the search results, complete with play buttons that take you into the Google Podcasts app. See the video above.

Should I link to Google Podcasts instead of Google Play?

Yes, you absolutely should. Google Play Music has never contained podcasts outside of the US and Canada: and requires Google Play Music to be installed on the Android phone.

Google Podcasts works across the world, and does not require any app to be installed for your listeners to be able to hear you.

How do I know how many listens am I getting on Google Podcasts?

Your podcast host can help you here: the regex of the user-agent is \b(GoogleChirp|GSA)\/ - GoogleChirp on Google Assistant, GSA on Android devices. (We list more podcast app user-agents).

We suspect that not every host is correctly highlighting Google Podcasts (particularly, both of the user-agents that the tool uses): feel free to reach out to them and ask.

Does Google Podcasts do shownotes?

Yes. But it uses the <description> field, rather than <content:encoded>; and it irritatingly strips out all HTML formatting and links.

Does Google Podcasts cache the audio files?

No. (Google Play Music did. Google Podcasts does not.)

What else do I get as a podcaster?

The front of the Google Podcasts app shows suggested podcasts based on a listener's previously-enjoyed episodes. Some of them show "Other podcasts by..." and link to every other podcast you've produced. There are trending podcasts based on listening habits and categories. It's designed to make listeners discover more new podcasts. Including yours.

I'm a podcaster. What should I do now?

How do the feed URLs technically work?

They're kind of base64url encoded. Here's a snippet of the code we use.

$googlePodcastUrl='https://www.google.com/podcasts?feed=';
$googlePodcastUrl.=base64url_encode($rssFeed);

function base64url_encode( $data ){
  $data=strtr( base64_encode( $data ), '+/', '-_');
  $data=str_replace('=','%3D',$data);
  return $data;
}

How can I programmatically check that a feed is in Google Podcasts?

Google Podcasts returns a 404 if the page doesn't exist.

$googleHeaders=get_headers($googlePodcastUrl, 1);
if(stristr($googleHeaders[0], '200 OK')) {
  //This podcast is in Google Podcasts
  $googlePodcastResult=true;
} else {
  //This podcast is not in Google Podcasts
  $googlePodcastResult=false;
}

Got more questions?

We appreciate that many podcasters use iPhones. So, if you've any questions, just mail us: updates@podnews.net

Previously...

<< UTA and Cadence13 launch a podcast network of YouTube stars

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