After what seems like an eternal wait and many rumoured launch dates, the promise of a rival to iTunes for Android users and Google Play Store aficionados is finally here. On 18th April 2016 the Google added podcasts to the Google Play store, rolling out initially to the USA and Canada first.
At the moment you have to be in the USA or Canada (or on a VPN or proxy that has a US/Canadian IP address which is how we got our UK based podcast listed on Google Play Podcasts upon it’s launch) to be able to add your podcast feed into the Google Play store, and we’re hoping that Google will roll out their podcast platform to other regions soon.
The launch of the Google Play Podcast store is a great opportunity for podcasters to access a brand new audience of Android device users that were previously shut out of the iTunes ecosphere which has been the leader in distributing podcasts since the format was born back in 2005.
It seems on launch day though podcasts are initially available on the desktop version of the Google Play store. According to the official email sent to podcastsers that have already submitted their RSS fees, “The rollout on Android devices will be gradual, so users may not see podcast content on the Google Play Music app immediately”.
However Android users haven’t been completely shut out of podcasts of course, previously enjoying their favourite shows through apps like Stitcher Radio and other leading podcatching apps. So what will become of the staple Android podcasting apps now that podcasts are available natively in the Google Play store?
If there is a shift to the Google Play store for podcast listeners, will we see apps like Stitcher rapidly lose their audience or will Android users still stick with their favourite podcatcher apps because that’s where all their subscriptions are held. I suppose the key is how friendly and easy to use the Google Play Podcasts store is.
It will be interesting to see how Google’s new podcasting platform affects the download statistics for podcasters. Will we suddenly see a surge of extra listeners or will we simply see a movement in listeners from one platform to another with no net gain?
Also bringing podcasts into the Google Play store also brings podcast data into the Google ecosphere, and presumably this will act as another data source for Google’s Deep Mind database that is the brain behind the internet giant’s knowledge of everything you do on the web. Is podcasting another feed of life data into Google’s inner vast network of information, and will it affect your SEO and other Google services connected to your account?
Will Google start serving podcasts up in it’s search results. That has to happen. If your podcast is on iTunes and Google Play Podcasts and your podcast episodes appear in the search engine result pages who will get the higher ranking? Surely it has to be the Google Play Podcasts entry?
There are still lots of questions to be answered on this, but for now even though I own iOS devices and android devices, I for one finally welcome an alternative to iTunes and a new distribution platform for the fast growing podcast market.
What are your thoughts on the release of Podcasts in the Google Play store? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear them, and if you don’t have a podcast yet and this news has inspired you to finally start one, head on over to http://podcastpowerblueprint.com/go to learn how to get your own podcast started.