Podcasts have become a pretty big deal over the past decade, and they've arguably had a lot to do with keeping the art of radio alive. Regardless, the way that we get access to our favorite podcasts has changed in the past few years. Where someone might use iTunes or some other manager on a PC to download and sync their favorite 'casts, now a smartphone app does it all for us. This has been the case for some time now, but when Pocket Casts launched for Android, the game changed for the better. Now, in the first update to the app for 2016, version 5.3 brings a whole boat load of fresh new features.
First up is better support for those lucky users running Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Pocket Casts now supports Auto Backup, so if you need to Factory Reset your phone, Pocket Casts will look more like the app you wiped once you restore it. This includes the database of your favorite 'casts and more. This new support for Marshmallow also includes changes to permissions, Pocket Casts will now only ask for one permission upfront, to use storage. There's also better integration with Google Now as well, users can simply ask Google to "Listen to Serial in Pocket Casts" or more simply "Listen to Up Next in Pocket Casts" to hear your queue without even launching the app. Better filtering options have been added as well, such as the ability to filter out content by the time new episodes were added, making it easier than ever to get the latest episode of something.
Pocket Casts is one of the best, if not the best, podcast management app on Android and it's great to see the developers continue to add to new features to the app. Podcasts over the last couple of years have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts, Barack Obama has appeared on Marc Maron's WTF and Serial has helped rekindle the nation's love of classic radio shows. The new update should be available for those running Pocket Casts right now, but if not it should appear in the next day or two.