Monday, April 18, 2016

Google Play Music Podcasts

So, What's It All About?

At some point in October of last year, Google announced that they'd be implementing podcast support in
Google Play Music. Myself, I've always considered this one of a couple of important missing features. For several months, I waited. Some users got early access in A/B testing. I didn't. Someone let slip in February that it was supposed to go live. It didn't happen. Finally, today, April 18, 2016, it went live. Initially it went live in the browser app. The rollout to the mobile app, so far, is a little slower. I don't have it yet. 

How does it work?

Well, first, they've added a podcast setting to the smart options for your listening. Along with radio station suggestions, you're also presented with a Podcast option. Cool, I guess. It's the afternoon, and I'm listening to a podcast dealing with the Waco, Texas biker shootout. This part is cool. 
It's also very easy to subscribe to the channel of the podcast you're listening to. 
Earlier in the day I went out trying to populate my personal list with podcasts that I listen to. The selection was really slim. I found a few, but most that I like aren't available. Worse, I can't find a way in the web to manually add any podcasts. Hopefully that option is available in the mobile app. 

Problems so far

Well, one really big problem. To see what would happen, I navigated away from my podcast, and streamed a tune. Turns out that if you do that on one of the suggested podcasts, not only is your place not saved, but you can't seem to easily find the podcast you were just listening to. I don't like that at all. 
A little more scrolling around found my missing podcast at the bottom of the list of episodes. Starting the playback again found my original place. Turns out, I've got the functionality I expected, but not terribly intuitive. 

On the web, that's about it. It has just about everything I need, short of being able to manually add subscriptions.