And one other one bites the mud — this time, it’s Google Podcasts, which is being discontinued in favor of YouTube Music.
Again in 2018, Google moved its Play Music service over to YouTube, and whereas some individuals felt it was an enchancment, others weren’t so thrilled. I’ve to say that I depend myself among the many latter; I often take heed to moderately than watch my music, and I didn’t discover the YouTube Music interface any type of enchancment.
Now, as is its wont, Google has determined to drop one more of its apps and as an alternative add these options to a different. It despatched this letter out to its customers:
Over the approaching months, podcasts in YouTube Music might be made accessible globally and we are going to begin rolling out instruments that can allow you to switch your podcast present subscriptions from Google Podcasts. In YouTube Music, it is possible for you to to take heed to your podcasts identical to you probably did on Google Podcasts, no paid subscription required. If YouTube Music isn’t for you, there may even be an choice to obtain a file of your present subscriptions, which you’ll be able to add to an app that helps their import.
In response to the YouTube weblog, Google might be discontinuing the Podcasts app “later in 2024.”
I like — preferred — Google Podcasts. It’s easy, straightforward to navigate, and, effectively, comfy. I even began utilizing it as an alternative of my previous trustworthy podcast app Stitcher — which, sadly, I can’t return to as a result of it was shut down on August twenty ninth by proprietor SiriusXM. So now I’m going to should search for one thing new.
What follows are my impressions of some of the extra in style podcast apps at the moment accessible for Android telephones. To this point, of people who I’ve tried, Pocket Casts and AntennaPod stand out; Spotify’s options are additionally fairly good. Nonetheless, it’s a good assumption to make that as we get nearer to the 2024 deadline, different apps might pop up, and in the event that they do, I’ll in all probability examine them out.
Be aware: Podcasts apps usually use the OPML format to export and import subscription knowledge. At this level, Google Podcasts doesn’t export by way of OPML; in line with its announcement, it should provide that function finally for many who select to not migrate to YouTube Music. Within the meantime, I examined these apps by including a number of podcasts manually.
After I started to analysis podcast apps, the one whose identify all the time got here up as the primary to strive was Pocket Casts. (Certainly one of my colleagues right here at The Verge, when he heard I used to be writing this text, commented, “Pocket Casts yesterday, Pocket Casts at this time, Pocket Casts perpetually.”) It has an attention-grabbing historical past: it launched in 2010, was bought to NPR, together with different public media teams, in 2018, and was thereafter bought by Automattic (the proprietor of Wordpress.com) in 2021. Its cell apps are actually open supply.
After putting in Pocket Casts, I may instantly see why it was such a favourite. The free model is slick and stuffed with helpful options. The primary web page exhibits your subscribed podcasts as both an inventory or grid; in case you’ve received too many casts to right away view, you possibly can add filters for such choices as In Progress, Starred, or Launch Date. You may advance your audio by 30 seconds or again it up by 10 seconds, create a queue of what to take heed to subsequent (very useful on lengthy drives), and in case you’re in any respect curious, see stats on how lengthy you’ve listened for. You may obtain episodes (both manually or routinely), put them in a playlist, set a sleep timer, mark episodes as performed, and archive them to get them out of the way in which.
Different issues value noting embrace the power to regulate playback pace, increase the quantity of voices, and remove pauses between phrases with out making it sound unnatural. It additionally syncs throughout platforms, so you possibly can hear on Android, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Home windows and hold your house.
In different phrases, it is a strong, well-thought-out podcast app with a number of choices — so, sure, definitely worth the good word-of-mouth. And wait, there’s extra: it’s ad-free. The paid model, Pocket Casts Plus, provides the power to arrange your podcasts in folders, entry to desktop apps, and 20GB of cloud storage, amongst others, for $3.99 per thirty days or $39.99 per yr, with a one-month free trial.
Castbox is an ad-supported app that has a busy important web page that continuously advertises a wide range of podcasts. You may seek for your required podcasts by a search field on high; from the outcomes, it’s straightforward so as to add the pod to your playlist. (As quickly as you do, you’ll get some “Chances are you’ll like” options that, so far as I may inform, had little to do with my choice.) I did discover I had inadvertently subscribed to a number of of the podcasts on the opening web page and that auto-download was routinely enabled. One other slight irritation: though Castbox has an e-mail sign-in, there is no such thing as a option to register utilizing your e-mail — in case you’re not already registered, you possibly can solely sign up by way of a Google, Fb, Twitter, or Line account.
There are 4 tabs on the backside of the web page. Uncover is the place you’ll find and add podcasts. Group is a social community for dialogue of varied podcasts, and from a quick look, it’s best ignored except you get pleasure from the kind of commentary present in at this time’s Twitter / X. Private is your settings.
Lastly, Library is the place you’ll discover your subscribed podcasts; from right here, you possibly can go to your downloads, new episodes, and favorites. There’s a cheap set of options: you possibly can go 10 seconds again or ahead, set a sleep timer, and choose an episode to be subsequent up. However be warned: in some instances, you’ll solely see the podcast’s cowl for a few seconds; after that, it is going to be lined by a Google advert.
If you wish to eliminate the advertisements, have limitless subscriptions (the free model is restricted to 100), and set completely different playback results for various podcasts, amongst different options, it should value you both $19.99 a yr, $7.99 quarterly, or $3.99 a month.
Whenever you take a look at its web site, it’s apparent that PodBean is extra of an app for podcasters than for podcast listeners; nonetheless, it has a helpful cell app. The app comes loaded with a wide range of pattern podcasts, three of that are already checked for you (and are simply unchecked). The free model does present advertisements on the high of the house web page, however there aren’t any advertisements on the primary web page of every podcast.
There are additionally various good options. For instance, you possibly can change the language of the interface, auto-delete performed downloads and auto-download episodes from particular podcasts and, in case you all of the sudden notice you’re operating out of house, clear your storage.
If you wish to change your house web page to the “Following” web page, you will get a Podbean Golden Member Subscription for $9.99 yearly. That additionally removes the show advertisements and means that you can create limitless playlists,
Like Castbox and PodBean, the primary web page you come throughout in Podcast Addict is moderately busy, with altering advertisements on high and a wide range of recommended podcasts beneath. You may seek for your favourite podcasts and select from the ensuing record (properly, you might be instantly requested whether or not you need to stream or obtain your episodes). It’s also possible to faucet on a range for extra info and subscribe from there.
Podcast Addict presents a variety of personalization options proper out of the field. For instance, the settings for every podcast help you not solely hold it up to date but in addition edit the podcast URL, edit the podcast identify, override the podcast paintings, or prioritize it in your podcast lists. You may even set an alarm. This app is, in different phrases, tailored for anybody who desires to actually futz round with their podcast subscriptions — and whereas it does embrace advertisements, these are principally out of the way in which, confined to the underside of the web page.
To eliminate the advertisements, you may make a one-time cost of $6.99. There’s additionally a Premium model for 99 cents a month or $9.99 a yr that provides a playlist widget and allows you to choose your opening display screen, amongst different options.
AntennaPod is an open-source, volunteer-built app. In consequence, it’s simple, merely formatted, and presents some attention-grabbing options. A pop-in facet menu helps you to add a podcast to your record, see your queue, take a look at current episodes, and see all of your subscriptions, amongst others.
When you’ve arrange your subscriptions, the homepage has alternatives to proceed listening to any podcasts you’ve already began, helps you to see any new episodes, or use “Get shocked” to entry a random episode. It’s also possible to obtain the most recent subscribed episodes or handle your downloads.
Faucet on the quilt for any of your subscribed podcasts to go to the podcast web page. There, you possibly can select to both stream or obtain the most recent episode. Three buttons on the high allow you to get extra details about the location and filter the episodes by various strategies (performed or not performed, downloaded or not downloaded, paused or not paused, and others). There are additionally various attention-grabbing settings, reminiscent of the power to alter your username for particular podcasts (in case you’re notably nervous about listening to it), tagging, playback pace, and the power to routinely skip introductions and ending credit. And you will get stats for time performed, episodes in your gadget, and house used.
In different phrases, whereas Pocket Casts is a identified favourite amongst many listeners, AntennaPod may be value a shot.
Whereas all the opposite apps listed below are devoted podcast apps, it might have been remiss to not point out Spotify — particularly since, about the identical time that Google introduced it was sunsetting Podcasts, Spotify introduced it was including new podcast-specific options, together with extra transcript capabilities, chapters to permit listeners to flick through a solid extra simply, and extra content material on the podcast pages. (After all, most of this is determined by how a podcast is coded by its creators.)
Whereas I’ve used Spotify for music listening, I’ve not used it for podcasts till now. A button on high of the house web page on the Android app takes you to Podcasts & Exhibits, the place there’s a collection of recommended casts. There’s a search button on the underside; faucet that, and you’ll both flick through recommended podcasts or do a search. As soon as you discover the podcast you need, you observe (Spotify’s model of subscribing) to it.
Every podcast web page means that you can add particular episodes to your playlist, obtain that episode, get notifications of recent episodes, and different options. The settings for every allow you to determine whether or not to routinely obtain an episode or mark all of the previous episodes as performed. On every podcast’s Now Taking part in web page, you possibly can again up 10 seconds, go ahead 30 seconds, change the pace, or trim silent sections. And, as with Pocket Casts, Spotify syncs throughout platforms.
In brief, Spotify has a reasonably spectacular set of podcast options — nonetheless, you continue to should specify Podcasts & Exhibits if you wish to decide them out from all of the music in your Spotify library.
Spotify’s Premium plan provides offline music listening (you possibly can obtain podcasts on the free plan), removes advertisements, and will increase the sound high quality. It prices $10.99 a month for people, $5.99 a month for college students, $14.99 a month for 2 accounts, and $16.99 for as much as six accounts, together with Spotify Youngsters.
After all, in case you really feel that utilizing a single app for podcasts, music, and different media is a bonus, you could need to wait and see if YouTube Music will really be just right for you — except you already use Spotify. However if you’re extra attuned to utilizing a person podcast app and need to keep away from each advertisements and cost, then Pocket Casts or AntennaPod could also be value a strive.