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Google is retiring its Podcasts app to focus on YouTube Music
Quote:Google revealed today that it is retiring the official Google Podcasts application to create a centralized podcasts experience on YouTube Music.

Launched in 2018, Google Podcasts did not receive rave reviews when it launched for Android. The application lacked fundamentals and its requirements were not user friendly either. A redesign in 2020 and the launch for iOS brought the turnaround. Today, Google Podcasts has a comfortable 4.6 rating and over 500 million downloads on Google Play. On Apple's platform, Google Podcast has an even higher rating of 4.7.

While it is great that Google put energy into turning Google Podcasts around from its mediocre start, it is soon game over for the application. Google plans to retire its Podcasts application in 2024 in favor of YouTube Music.

The company plans to make YouTube Music the "destination for fans and podcasters alike" according to the announcement. YouTube Music does support podcasts already, as Google introduced support last year for users in the United States. All users get options to download podcasts and other features, usually reserved to paid subscribers of YouTube Music.

Google plans to launch podcasts officially for worldwide users before the end of 2023 according to the announcement. For now, the podcast experience is limited, but Google pledged support for introducing missing features to YouTube Music, including the ability to add RSS feeds of podcasts to YouTube Music to gain access to shows that are not available on YouTube Music.

Google reassures existing Podcasts app users that there will be a "simple migration tool" to move all podcast subscriptions to YouTube Music. An option to save all Google Podcasts subscriptions to an OPML file will also be introduced. This file contains information on the subscriptions and may be imported into any RSS feed reader or podcasting application that supports it.

Podcasts app users may wonder why Google is making the change. Google cites an Edison survey, which suggests that the majority of weekly podcasts users in the United States are using YouTube more than they use the Podcasts app. The decision may also have a cost-cutting effect for Google and it will strengthen the YouTube Music brand further. Whether Google has plans to introduce podcasting features for premium users only is unknown at this point.

Google Podcasts users who prefer a dedicated app may check out Pocket Casts, Newsly or Podcast Addict among many other podcasting apps.

Now You: do you listen to Podcasts?
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