At the end of last month, a report surfaced that Google is working on a new podcasting app called ‘Shortwave’ and now some additional info surfaced. Do keep in mind that the information that we’re about to share is an ‘early exploratory concept’ for Shortwave, according to Google’s spokesperson, and “it is not representative” of the current product Area 120 is developing… which, at the same time, confirms that Shortwave is coming.
In any case, this design experiment was published by one of Google’s former designers via a design document, basically. This design document describes the “next wave (of podcasting” as taking “a million things to listen to”, which presumably refers to a ton of podcasts being available. The leaked document also seems to allude that Google originally wanted to slice up podcasts to relevant portions, and offer them in that form to users. It is not clear whether this would be an automated process, or not, but truth be told, letting AI divide podcasts into smaller portions may not be a good idea, as it’s probably not able to make such calls just yet based on what’s being talked about. Still, this is Google we’re talking about, so who knows what will happen, as this is an experimental project after all. In any, those smaller portions were originally supposed to be between 1 and 10 minutes long, and it’s unclear whether Google plans to stick to that plan at this point, as Google’s spokesperson basically said Google moved on from the concept, though it’s unclear whether this whole idea got scrapped, or only portions of it.
Now, in addition to the aforementioned info, some images also surfaced, which show off early UI design. As you can see, as soon as the app loads, a consumer is asked to choose between Laugh, Learn or Listen options, and based on what you choose, different content gets displayed. So, if ‘Laugh’ section is chosen, comedy, stand-up, banter and interview content will pop up. Science, psychology, space, and nature were tied to the ‘Learn’ section, while the editor’s curated picks were available in the ‘Listen’ section. We’re referring to all this in past tense as it seems like Google completely changed its approach to shortwave, at least according to the company’s spokesperson, so this design is a thing of the past, and it’s possible that the whole idea around the app’s functionality may be in the past as well.