Google has announced that it will be discontinuing its standalone podcast service, Google Podcasts, in 2024. Instead, the company will be integrating podcast content into YouTube Music to enhance the podcast experience. Google aims to create a more appealing destination for both podcast enthusiasts and creators by making YouTube Music the primary platform for podcasts.
According to Google, about 23% of weekly podcast users in the US already consider YouTube as their most frequently used service, compared to just 4% for Google Podcasts. This data, along with Google's efforts to make podcast content available for free on YouTube Music earlier this year, has influenced the decision to discontinue Google Podcasts.
As part of the transition, Google will provide a straightforward migration tool to help users move their podcast subscriptions seamlessly to YouTube Music. Users will also have the option to add a podcast RSS feed to their YouTube Music library, expanding their podcast choices beyond what's currently available on YouTube.
For users who prefer alternative podcast platforms, Google will offer the option to download an OPML file of their podcast subscriptions. This will allow users to import their saved podcasts into another app that supports this feature.
The integration into YouTube Music will come with unique features available on YouTube, such as community engagement, content discovery, and the ability to easily switch between audio and video content. YouTube has plans to make podcasts globally accessible on YouTube Music by the end of 2023.
Google Podcasts was originally launched in 2018 on Android, providing users with access to a collection of podcasts and personalized recommendations. In 2020, it was made available on iOS, and web users on Windows and macOS platforms also had access to the service.
This move reflects Google's commitment to the podcasting space and its strategy to leverage the popularity of YouTube for podcast content distribution. It also aligns with the growing trend of major streaming platforms integrating podcasts into their offerings to create a one-stop destination for audio content.