Google adds playable podcast episodes to search results

Google Search update lets users find their favorite Podcasts easier than ever

Podcast Listening and Discovery Comes Straight to Google Search

The Search app is getting even more changes, Google announced earlier today. The new Google Podcast search is a game-changer and makes the life task easier. For instance, if you search for "Serial podcasts", you'll see episodes of Serial pop up right in the search interface. All you have to do is ask the Google Assistant for podcasts about a particular topic and it will display you relevant episodes.

In addition, later this year Google Assistant will begin suggesting podcasts for you to listen to, and Google Podcasts for web will let you play episodes through your browser without needing to download an app.

This push for podcast accessibility follows the trend led by other tech companies who are committing to the growing podcast industry.

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Introduced a year ago, the company already supports a full Google Podcasts application complete with Google Assistant integration.

For now, people have to search using the word "podcast", so if you want to find a show that talks about golden retrievers, you'll have to search "podcasts about golden retrievers" or "golden retriever podcast".

This might not outwardly be a bad thing, but it could have negative side effects if podcast creators eventually rely on formulaic approaches to titles and descriptions that, prior to the new Google search feature, were places where they more openly expressed a show's identity. "This means you'll be able to discover podcasts that may be exclusively available by purchase or subscription", Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Product Manager, Google Podcasts said on Thursday.

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When you want to learn about something or someone, you don't just read articles or look at pictures or watch YouTube videos anymore. Search Engine Land first reported on the issues.

The new podcast features of search are rolled out today for English results in the US. While of course Google would like for you to use Google Podcasts to do so, they would also have to open up the search results to their competitors, lest they be accused of skewing the results to their favor. Right now, people typically find podcasts through friends or other shows, but they also likely have a hard time finding shows about specific topics because there's no easy way to search by topic. Moreover, the progression of podcast watch will be synced and updated everywhere. Presumably, podcasts that aren't as popular or indexed as highly will also have a lower chance of ever being found at all.

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