In October of 2015, Google announced Podcasts for Google Play Music. It was an official announcement with Google even opening up the back end for podcasters to upload their own podcasts and get them into Google Play Music. However, we have yet to see the podcast functionality open up in Google Play Music. But it looks like it'll be launching on Monday, April 18th. Nearly 6 months after it was announced. According to NPR, that is when it'll be launching. And with NPR being a launch partner for Podcasts in Google Play Music, it's safe to say that they know what they are talking about.
Google has indeed been testing the podcasts interface for quite a while now. We've seen numerous reports of users seeing the podcast update appear in Google Play Music, but it wasn't available for everyone. The interface will likely be similar to the rest of the Google Play Music app, and podcasts will have their own category within the app. So that you can listen to your favorite tunes and your favorite podcasts all from within the same app.
Podcasts have become a pretty big phenomenon as of late. It's basically the new version of talk radio, but over the internet. There are thousands if not millions of podcasts out there, in all sorts of genres. While most of them are available in video form, most listeners listen to the show in audio form (that's what makes them "listeners" and not "viewers"). Google hasn't had a podcast app for Android since they shut down Google Listen back in 2012. Many users have migrated to apps like PocketCasts, Dogcatcher, and many others. It'll be great to have a native podcast app, and one that also has all of your music too. It's a win/win for Android users.
While NPR is likely right about Google Play Music launching Podcasts next week, it is also possible that the date changes. So we'll have to take this with a grain of salt and we'll see what happens on Monday. Of course, if it does indeed launch, we'll be sure to let everyone know.