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Google Podcasts app: an FAQ for podcasters

· Updated May 15, 2020 · By · 4.4 minutes to read

What is Google Podcasts?

Google Podcasts itself is a platform that powers playback of podcasts on:

The Google Podcasts player is pre-installed on every Android phone running 4.1 or above (that’s over 99%). The app is a free download for your mobile, and 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 Android 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.

That link will also open Google Podcasts on the web for anyone else (iPhone, Macs, PCs).

But, to answer your question, they can install the app like any other app if they want to.

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.

Just like the web search, Google find you, rather than you having to submit anything. Search for your podcast on Google Podcasts to check.

However, you’re best submitting it to Google yourself in Google Podcasts Manager. You’ll get analytics data from Google if you do that, too.

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

Google has a link tool of its own, to help you check.

Search for your podcast on Podnews, and you can use our link button builder tool that will help you add a Google Podcasts button to your website. (And one for Apple and Spotify).

You can also search for your podcast on Google Podcasts. The link it will take you to has a feed portion, which you need, and a ved portion, which you can usefully ignore.

Below, we explain how to programmatically generate these links.

How else can my listeners listen?

They can just search for you in Google. Your podcast will appear in the search results, complete with play buttons that take you into the Google Podcasts player (on Android), or the website. 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; doesn’t have any podcasts in iOS; and requires Google Play Music to be installed. It’s due for retirement in late 2020.

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?

You should use Google Podcasts Manager. They’ll give you all the information there.

Your podcast host may also give you data, though it’s harder to measure Google Podcasts than other podcast apps. We list podcast app user-agents that might help them.

Does Google Podcasts do episode notes?

Yes. It keeps links intact, and works well. Google Podcasts also prominently links to your website too, unlike some other podcast apps.

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 Google Podcasts app, or the website, 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://podcasts.google.com/?feed=';
$googlePodcastUrl.=base64url_encode($rssFeed);

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

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

You need to pull in the HTML for the Google Podcasts page, and check for “Error 404” in the HTML. (It’s sent with a 200 OK header, which is against Google’s own guidelines, but what’cha’gonna’do?)

$googleUrl="https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=";
$googleUrl.="aHR0cHM6Ly9wb2RuZXdzLm5ldC9yc3M";
$googleHTML=file_get_contents($googleUrl);
  if (strpos($googleHTML,'<title>Error 404')) {
    echo "This podcast is not in Google Podcasts";
    exit;
  }

Why is Google Play Music Podcasts still going?

We’ve no idea, but it’s mightily confusing. We’ve a website at http://isgoogleplaymusicpodcastsstillathing.com/ which is built to try to draw attention to this.

It look as though Google Play Music Podcasts will finally disappear in late 2020.

Got more questions?

Use the comments below - we’d be happy to help.

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