Yesterday, reports emerged suggesting that a podcast feature would soon be added to Google Play Music. This was not the first time that such a feature had been reported on, as back in October, it has been known that the feature was en route. Although, the ETA for the feature was not known and it was the anticipated arrival which stemmed the basis for yesterday's report. That said, even with those reports there was no firm or detailed arrival information with the best guesses suggesting it will be 'later this month'. Well, 24 hours is a long time in the tech world and it now seems that the feature is already arriving for some device owners.
At the moment, there is no clear indication that a normal roll out is currently in effect. There is also no firm confirmation that this is in an A/B testing situation, where some users are seeing the feature as a means of a limited roll out for testing. Although this does seem to be the most likely scenario at the moment. What has become clear is that the feature has been noted hitting an LG Nexus 5X. Although, we have one here with the most up to date version of Google Play Music and the feature is not live as of yet. That all said, it has now bee noted as live in some capacity. In terms of the actual app, the images provided do seem to highlight that the general UI is much the same as what you will find elsewhere on Play Music. The use of Cards predominantly display the podcasts along with podcast-relevant artwork. The podcast section breaks down into "Featured" and "Your Podcasts". If subscribing to a particular podcast, Play Music will offer the option to download the previous five episodes and also offer the option to receive notifications when new episodes go live. Although there does seem to be some teething issues which could be improved upon. For instance, searching while in the Podcast section will not only search for podcasts, but will also display other content results as well.
As mentioned, it is unclear at the moment how and when the feature is going live for everyone. If it is an aspect of A/B testing then this will have been switched on server-side and will not require the user to update at all. As such, if you are running the latest version (or not), finding out whether the feature is live for you, will be a matter of just checking to see if "Podcasts" is now listed in the side pullout menu. In the meantime though, you can check out how the interface looks and what to expect in the provided images below.