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Google may just have solved podcasting’s discovery problem

Google may just have solved podcasting’s discovery problem
[Photo: Siddharth Bhogra/Unsplash]

Looking for a specific podcast has always been a straightforward process: Plug in the title or the host’s name in an app store or search engine and you’re golden. But when you’re not sure what you’re looking for or just want to peruse your options based on a topic, you’ve had to rely on articles with roundups of different shows, random Twitter recommendations, or bounce from platform to platform with your query.

[Animation: courtesy of Google]
Sites like Listen Notes and Audiosear.ch (until it shut down in 2017), among many other startups determined to crack podcast discovery, were created to solve this problem by aspiring to be the Google for podcasts.

But now Google wants to be the Google for podcasts.

Starting today, the company announced that it’s updating its search function to include playable episodes within the search results around a topic. So if you’re looking for “podcasts about grilling” or “knitting podcasts,” results will surface with relevant episodes “based on Google’s understanding of what’s being talked about on a podcast,” according to a Google blog post, “so you can find even more relevant information about a topic in audio form.”

The new features are currently only available in the U.S. for searches in English.

Later this year, Google will be rolling out the podcast search capability to Google Assistant, and it also announced that publishers will be able to specify a playback destination. Meaning they’ll be able to choose which third-party website or app they want to surface in a search result.

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