The Google app now has a dedicated podcast player function built right into it, The Next Web reports. Effectively, Android users with access to the feature can search for, subscribe to, manage, and listen to podcasts without ever downloading a secondary app. That is built into the dedicated Google search app or Google Assistant. Since those have been a part of the Android ecosystem for almost two years now, nearly every Android user should be able to access the feature if it ends up being released globally.
There's no word on whether or when the feature might be added to the iOS variant, let alone when exactly it arrived via an update on Android, but getting started with it is easy enough; users simply need to search for a given podcast. For example, saying or typing "Waking Up Podcast," will result in the usual search results but should show the given podcast at the top - along with a list of recent podcast episodes and a "more episodes" option. Tapping the latter item will bring up a page that's dedicated to the searched podcast. A podcast icon should be present in the top left-hand corner as well. Tapping that icon will bring up an option to add a podcast shortcut to the home screen for getting back to the page. That's also the way to access the dedicated podcast player. From that page, a user can search for and manage podcast subscriptions just as with a dedicated podcast player.
As to the player itself, it allows for easy listening and basic functions such as selecting a playback speed, resuming episodes, podcast sorting, and recommendations. All of the functions of the tool are also voice-controllable. It goes without saying that the tool probably won't replace a dedicated app designed specifically for podcasts as far as most users are concerned. With that said, the minimal approach seems to be a great way to access the content without using up additional storage space when needed. Moreover, the way Google has laid out the various controls, settings, and features should feel very familiar to anybody who has used the search giant's other apps. For those looking for a straightforward, easy listening and management method, that alone makes it well worth checking out once it's rolled out globally.