Google Podcasts, one of the most popular podcast apps, to end in June

Google Podcasts is being "sunset" in June 2024 as the company tries to drive traffic to its own answer to Spotify and Apple Music. — Photo: Franziska Gabbert/dpa

WASHINGTON: Google is telling users of its podcasts app that they have until mid-June to export their list of followed podcasts to an alternative before the app is shut down.

With more than 500 million installs on Android, Google Podcasts was among the most widely circulated apps for streaming podcasts. However, the company announced in late 2023 that it would discontinue the app in 2024.

"After June 23, 2024, you will no longer be able to listen to podcasts in Google Podcasts," says a new message being shown to users in April.

Users are being given the option to migrate their podcasts into music streaming platform YouTube Music or to download an OPML file of their subscriptions, which they can upload to another app.

Major alternative podcasting apps for Android users include Podcast Addict (10 million downloads), Podcast Player (10 million downloads), Castbox (10 million downloads) and Podbean (5 million downloads), as well as music streaming service Spotify (1 billion downloads).

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

Even weeks before being shut down, the app has kept a solid 4.3 rating on the Play Store.

"In a world of complexity, Google Podcasts was a beacon of simplicity and functionality," one reviewer writes on the Play Store, where several have lamented the loss of the app's clean, ad-free design.

Google Podcasts was also noted for the option to stop listening to a podcast on a smartphone and continue listening on a browser or smart speaker.

The company said the decision to kill the app was 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. – dpa

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