Google Podcasts app launches on iOS: same, but different
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As we reported yesterday, Google Podcasts is now available on iOS, with a new iPhone app available now. The redesign is now also visible on Android, and includes full automatic downloads and new episode notifications. The announcement also promises “support for subscriptions on Google Podcasts for Web”, and many outlets have reported this as having launched - we don’t see any subscriptions visible as yet, though.
- Why would you want to use Google Podcasts on Apple? If you’ve Google devices in your home, “OK, Google, Resume My Podcast” will continue where you’ve left off, as one example. It’ll also enable you to keep listening to shows at work on Google Podcasts for Web (when that gets the update). Unlike the Apple app, it includes a silence-remover, and more control over speed-listening.
- Google Podcasts is not the same as Google Play Music Podcasts, which is still there, 647 days since Google Podcasts’s launch. Just like Google search, you don’t submit your podcast to Google Podcasts: it finds you. That said, there are some things you can do to help get listed faster when you launch a new show. Google Podcasts also supports WebSub, so new episodes appear instantly in the app.
From a developer’s point of view, the Google Podcasts iOS app looks identical to the Android app, but isn’t. In particular:
- Disappointingly it doesn’t display full
<content-encoded>HTML show-notes: using the
<description>field instead, and stripping out any HTML (following the standard).
- It’s likely that many podcast hosts could incorrectly credit downloads from Google’s new iPhone app to Apple Podcasts. Unlike the
"GSA/"user-agent of the Android app, the iOS app has a user-agent of
Podcasts: almost identical to the Apple Podcasts app user-agent of
Podcasts/(version-number). Our updated user-agents list for podcast apps now lists this new user-agent.
- The iOS app also gives no option to “view the RSS feed”, which is a useful debugging tool within the Android app. Our FAQ will help you here. (We’ve also found a bug - with an AirDrop logo hovering over the top-left corner of the screen while you use Settings).
- Disappointingly it doesn’t display full
In the official announcement, the image of Google Podcasts appears to show Alexandre Saddi's subscriptions: he’s a Staff Designer at Google. A Brazilian, he’s worked for Google in New York since 2014. However, the images show three 'latest episodes’ - a Jan 28 2020 episode of Stuff You Should Know, a Dec 14 2018 re-run episode of How I Built This, and an Aug 3 2009 episode from Stuff You Missed In History Class. In another screen, a Feb 12 2020 episode of 99% Invisible is described as being released '21 hours ago’, while released 'yesterday’ was a Dec 24 2019 episode of Dolly Parton’s America. In short, these are mockups, not screengrabs, if you were wondering; we suspect Alexandre’s podcast subscriptions are rather different.
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