Google Abandons Ship on Podcasts App, Forcing Users to YouTube Music

Google has announced it will officially shut down its Google Podcasts app in April 2024, marking the end of the road for the company’s latest effort in the podcast space. Launched in 2016, Google Podcasts represented the tech giant’s third attempt at a dedicated podcasting platform after Google Listen and the podcast functionality within Google Play Music.

With the shutdown scheduled for April, Google has begun rolling out a migration tool for U.S. users to transfer their podcast subscriptions over to YouTube Music, which will become the new home for Google’s podcasting features going forward. The migration tool, accessed via a banner within the Google Podcasts app, allows for a one-click export of a user’s podcast subscriptions over to YouTube Music. For those looking to switch to a third-party app outside of Google’s ecosystem, there is also an option to export subscriptions as an OPML file that can be imported elsewhere.

The decision to end Google Podcasts comes as Google aims to consolidate its audio offerings, including music and podcasts, into YouTube Music. By focusing its efforts on one platform, Google hopes to combine the listenership currently spread across its different apps. The shutdown also reflects the growing prominence of YouTube as the centerpiece of Google’s media ecosystem.

While Google says the transition is aimed at an improved user experience, the migration will still require users and podcast creators to adapt to yet another platformshuffle. And it extends the long list of Google products that get discontinued as priorities and strategies shift. Google Podcasts becomes the latest to join the tech graveyard alongside Google+, Reader, Inbox, Play Music and many more.

For now, Google Podcasts remains available in the U.S. through March 2024 before officially getting discontinued the following month. The ability to export subscriptions via the migration tool or OPML files will still be accessible for several months after that during a sunset period, with Google planning to terminate exports in August 2024.

The shutdown marks a notable change of direction for Google’s podcasting ambitions. But it also puts further emphasis on the company’s grand vision for YouTube Music as an all-encompassing hub for music, podcasts, and potentially other audio entertainment. Whether this unified strategy leads to more success remains to be seen as users face yet another platform transition.

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