As we found out yesterday, the Google Play Music podcast section might be launching later this month, if a quickly-deleted tweet from popular sports podcaster Bill Simmons is to be believed. Google announced the feature back in October but there has been no official launch date given for it. Nevertheless, some Play Music users are already seeing the new podcast section in the Play Music app.
It looks as though it is server-side A/B testing rather than the first stages of a wider rollout, as you would expect Google to make an official announcement to celebrate the new feature. We know Google has been roping into popular podcasters to sign up for its new podcast platform, and if A/B testing is underway it can’t be far away.
The feature is showing up in the latest version of the Play Music app available in Google Play, but it’s far from widespread at this stage. When you do see the feature, it will appear in the navigation drawer underneath the music library with the main interface divided into two sections: Featured and Your Podcasts. Everything is implemented in the same image-focused Play Music style.
Searching for podcasts isn’t exactly ideal though: the search feature searches all Play Music content, not just podcasts, so you’ll have to scroll down to the podcasts section of the search results. There are skip buttons for jumping backwards or forward in 30-second increments and when you subscribe to a podcast you can automatically download five episodes and set your new podcast notification preferences.
Going back to the official launch date of Play Music podcasts, it’s feasible that Bill Simmons was given a heads up on the launch date because he has signed up to Google’s new podcast program. It’s also possible that he took a guess, but the fact that he later deleted the tweet implies someone at Google may have called him up and advised him to do so. Either way, keep your eyes peeled for the podcasts section in Play Music and let us know when you get it.
How do you listen to your podcasts? What feature would you like to see next in Play Music?