Google officially confirms that podcast carousels will be disabled

Spokesperson tells TechCrunch that new podcast feature replacement is in the works

Google has officially announced that it will be shutting down its playable podcasts feature from Google Search results on 13 February. 

The announcement, which appeared on Google Podcasts Manager, comes after PodNews exclusively reported that it started noticing play buttons and links to podcast episodes disappear from Google Search on 18 January. A comment from Google at the time stated that this was “as intended” and that the platform was experimenting with new ways to improve user experience. 

Now, the tech giant is urging podcasters to download the historical data of their podcast insights, as clicks and impressions for ‘How people find your show’ will be wiped and dropped to zero after the feature shuts down. 

Technology news website TechCrunch shared a comment from a Google spokesperson who confirmed that Google is replacing the previous podcasts feature with a new, singular feature called ‘What To Podcast’.

The new feature – which is currently only available for English mobile users in the US – will offer more personalised podcast recommendations tailored to the user using data from their Google accounts’ browsing and search history, saved podcasts and podcast preferences. 

“This feature provides detailed information about podcasts, links to listen to shows on different platforms, and links to podcasters’ own websites, where available,” said the spokesperson.

Folder Media creative director and co-founder of the British Podcast Awards, Matt Deegan, said that this announcement from Google is “sadly another example of big tech failing to understand the medium” and that “They are not the saviour!” 

“Any reduction in discovery opportunities for podcasts is a bad thing,” said Deegan. “Google had made good progress in integrating podcasts into search with transcription analysis and developing a default player for Android. However, it lacked the resources and management will to push on, with many of the podcast-specific team leaving last year.”