Google shuttering its Podcasts app, pointing users to YouTube Music

Google Podcasts is being "sunset" in 2024 as the company tries to drive traffic to its answer to Spotify and Apple Music. But who's to say YouTube Music won't also meet the same fate as Google Podcasts? — Photo: Franziska Gabbert/dpa

SAN FRANCISCO: A clean design and simple approach had made Google's own Podcasts app a popular choice for streaming podcasts, with around half a billion users downloading the app on Android devices.

And yet Google is now preparing to kill the app.

The company says the decision is part of a shift towards its YouTube platform for streaming videos, music and, now increasingly, podcast content.

Google is notorious for closing down services that it deems unsuccessful, and the Google Podcasts app joins a long list of its apps to have been "sunset," such as gaming platform Stadia, chat app Hangouts and email client Inbox.

"Later in 2024," Google Podcasts will be discontinued and users will be given the option to migrate their podcasts into music streaming platform YouTube Music.

"For those who prefer a different listening platform, the tools will also include an option to download an OPML file of their show subscriptions, which they can upload to an app that supports their import," Google said in an in late September.

Google says the migration tools will be made available after it collects feedback "in the coming weeks and months."

Google Podcasts had picked up more than 500 million installs on Android devices and was noted for its simple but practical design, as well as the handy option to stop listening to a podcast on a smartphone and continue listening on a browser or smart speaker.

Users have been sharing their disappointment at the demise of the app on its Play Store reviews section, while also venting their annoyance Google's "inferior" YouTube Music app.

"Since Google has decided to discontinue the service to move everything over to YouTube music, a significantly inferior service, I am extremely disappointed," one user said. Another said they were "sick of Google's faltering and inconsistent platforms and ever-changing ecosystem of forgotten apps."

Google is now counting on users to switch to YouTube Music, a more video-orientied answer to music streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, which also have their own podcast streaming features.

However there are of course several alternative apps on the Play Store, notably (10 million downloads), (10 million downloads) and (5 million downloads). – dpa

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