After months of rumors and speculation, Google has finally announced that audio podcasts are coming to Google Play Music on the web and Android. The announcement was made early today and will require an update to the Google Play Music app on your Android devices. As for the web portion, it is actually live now so you can start finding your favorite podcasts right now at http://music.google.com. It has been a poorly kept secret that podcasts were coming to the app & service but it was all-but outed last Friday.
In the post on the Official Android blog by Ilia Malkovitch, Product Manager on Google Play Music, it was revealed that the new podcast feature also leverage a similar contextual engine to provide
you podcasts based on what you are doing, how you are feeling or your interests.
Starting today on the web and rolling out on Android in the U.S. and Canada, we’ll connect you with podcasts based on what you’re doing, how you’re feeling and what you’re interested in. Similar to our contextual playlists for music, we want to make it easy to find the right podcast—whether you’re a podcast aficionado or listening for the first time.
Similar to other podcasts apps, the updated Google Play Music app will allow you to subscribe to a podcast and download the last few episodes for listening offline. You can also set it up to give you notifications of when a new podcast is available that you.
The one key thing that you will need to keep in mind is that right now you will only get served up audio podcasts and the library, as you expect, is a little limited when you compare it to the likes of Pocket Casts. However I expect the latter to change pretty quickly as more content is added to the Google library. As for video, maybe we see a tie-in with YouTube at some point in the future but for now, if you want video podcasts, I recommend Pocket Casts.
The Android update for Google Play Music is rolling out now and should come to your device as an OTA update in the next few days if not sooner.