Google has announced the popular Google Podcasts service is shutting down as the company plans to fold audio shows into the YouTube Music app.
The company is hoping to streamline the experience completely after making audio and video podcasts available within the YouTube Music app without the need for a subscription earlier this year.
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Right now that experience is only available in the United States, but Google is taking it global in 2024, meaning it’ll be possible to enjoy shows in the app even if you don’t subscribe to the music streaming service.
For those with access, the app already enables downloads, background play and compatibility with the car and smart speakers, and the option to easily switch between audio and video podcasts. That’s a perk that only YouTube Music offers.
As a result, Google has decided it’s time to sunset Google Podcasts, saying far more regular listeners have already decamped to the YouTube Music app. It won’t happen until later in 2024 (so maybe a year from now), so there’s plenty of time to segue over.
In a blog post today, Google writes: “Looking forward to 2024, we’ll be increasing our investment in the podcast experience on YouTube Music — making it a better overall destination for fans and podcasters alike with YouTube-only capabilities across community, discovery and audio/visual switching.
“Later in 2024, as part of this process, we’ll be discontinuing Google Podcasts. As part of this process, we’ll be helping Google Podcasts users move over to Podcasts in YouTube Music. This matches what listeners and podcasters are already doing: according to Edison, about 23% of weekly podcast users in the US say YouTube is their most frequently used service, versus just 4% for Google Podcasts.”
Google says it is taking the extra time to ensure the transition is smooth and will be launching a simple migration tool to enable users to move their subscribed shows over.
While this should simplify things somewhat, this isn’t the first time Google-branded and YouTube-branded products have created confusion for users. Music, for instance, was under the Google Play Music branding for years, before Google brought it under the YouTube banner. The Android TV, Google TV and YouTube TV branding could also be a little simpler. Don’t get us started on Google’s various messaging and video conferencing apps…