Google Podcasts, the podcast app developed by Google, is going away. Starting next year, Google will shift its focus to offering podcast access within YouTube Music instead.
This decision doesn’t come as a surprise, as Google had taken steps earlier this year to integrate podcasts into YouTube Music. In April, Google launched the ability for users in the US to listen to podcasts in YouTube Music without a paid membership. This feature allows users to listen to podcasts offline and in the background, and even switch between the audio and video versions on YouTube Music. Additionally, YouTube announced that podcasts would be made available within YouTube Music globally before the end of 2023.
Looking ahead to 2024, YouTube plans to invest more in the podcast experience on YouTube Music, making it a better destination for fans and podcasters. The platform aims to introduce YouTube-exclusive features related to community, discovery, and audio/visual switching. As part of this process, Google Podcasts will be discontinued later in 2024.
YouTube justifies this decision by stating that it aligns with what listeners and podcasters are already doing. According to data from Edison, 23% of weekly podcast users in the US indicate that YouTube is their most frequently used service, compared to only 4% for Google Podcasts.
To facilitate the transition from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music, YouTube will provide a simple migration tool and the ability to add podcast RSS feeds to the YouTube Music library. Moreover, an OPML file download tool will be offered, enabling users to export their show subscriptions and import them onto other podcast listening platforms.
Overall, Google’s decision to discontinue Google Podcasts and focus on integrating podcasts into YouTube Music reflects the platform’s effort to consolidate its services and offer users a more seamless and comprehensive podcast experience. With the growing popularity of podcasts, it is essential for platforms to adapt and provide users with convenient and feature-rich options to consume their favorite audio content.