Google plans to discontinue one of its popular apps, Google Podcasts, in the new year. However, this doesn’t mean the company is entirely abandoning the podcast business, as Google wants users and content creators to use YouTube Music for podcasts instead.
Earlier this year, Google announced plans to bring podcasts to the YouTube Music app in the U.S. with a worldwide rollout before the end of the year. Therefore, today’s news probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise to many. Besides, Google says that 23% of users in the U.S. use YouTube for weekly podcasting, compared to only 4% for Google Podcasts.
According to a blog post, Google has been increasing its investment in the medium and plans to continue to do so in 2024. It explains: “We know this transition will take time, but these efforts will allow us to build an amazing product and a single destination that rewards creators and artists and provides fans with the best podcast experience. ”
The official Google Podcasts app was launched in 2018 for Android, followed by a web-based version for iOS, Android, and Windows in 2019, and an iOS app in 2020.
Google plans to gather feedback during the transition to make the shift “as simple and easy as possible.” Before the end of the year, current Google Podcasters will be given directions on uploading their RSS feeds to YouTube Music. Those listening to titles through Google Podcasts are encouraged to switch now.
In the same blog post announcing the end of Google Podcasts, the company says, “For users, it means a simple migration tool and the ability to add podcast RSS feeds to their YouTube Music library, including shows not currently hosted by YouTube. 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.”
Consolidating audio, video, and now podcasts on YouTube Music makes sense and follows Spotify’s approach. However, long-time Google Podcast listeners may find it confusing, at least in the short term.
Google has a long history of discontinuing services and apps. A “Killed by Google” webpage even tracks the company’s discontinued services and apps. In 2023 alone, for example, Google stopped several services — including Google Domains, Google Optimize, Google Album Archive, YouTube Stories, YouTube Originals, Google Currents, Google Street View, and many others.
In today’s announcement, Google didn’t say when the Google Podcasts app will be pulled from service. Given the company’s push towards adding podcasts to YouTube Music for everyone before the end of this year, it’s probably best to assume the app will be gone sooner rather than later in 2024.