Google will officially shut down its Google Podcasts app in 2024, the tech giant announced yesterday, following its shift in focus to investing more in podcast tools and features on YouTube Music.
In February this year, Google started to revamp some of its podcast capabilities, including removing playable podcasts from search results pages, and rolled out new features in May including third-party listening and personalised recommendations.
The tech giant is now shifting its focus to YouTube Music and prioritising driving podcast listeners to the app. Shortly after Google started disabling some of its podcast features, the platform’s head of podcasting Kai Chuk announced that YouTube Music would start supporting podcasts in the near future. The features first launched in the US in April, and started rolling out internationally to users in Brazil and Canada in July.
By the end of this year, YouTube plans to complete its global rollout of podcast listening and hosting tools, including full support for importing podcasts to the app via RSS feed instead of requiring creators to upload their shows as videos - as announced by Google’s podcasting product lead Steve McLendan at this year’s Podcast Movement. Other podcasting features coming to the app include enhanced analytics and improved discovery for podcasts.
According to a recent statement from the YouTube Team, Google’s investment into YouTube Music matches the behaviours of current listeners and podcasters as - according to Edison Research - over 20% of users in the US use YouTube as their preferred podcast platform, compared to 4% who choose Google Podcasts.
“We’ve seen creators and artists really embrace Podcasts on YouTube, and its incredible potential to boost audience growth across audio and video formats,” the YouTube team said in a statement. “Looking forward to 2024, we’ll be increasing our investment in the podcast experience on YouTube Music — making it a better overall destination for fans and podcasters alike with YouTube-only capabilities across community, discovery and audio/visual switching.”
As part of the new strategy, the YouTube team will be working on streamlining the process of transitioning listeners and podcasters from using Google Podcasts to YouTube Music in order to make it as easy as possible for users. Listeners will have access to a migration tool that allows them to add podcast RSS feeds to their YouTube Music library for shows hosted on and off YouTube, as well as tools to download a database of their personal show subscriptions which can be imported into an alternative platform.
The team is currently planning to gather feedback in the coming weeks and months, releasing clear guidelines on how to use the migration tools before shutting down Google Podcasts. Until then, users will continue to have access to YouTube, YouTube Music, and Google Podcasts.
“We know this transition will take time, but these efforts will allow us to build an amazing product and a single destination that rewards creators and artists and provides fans with the best podcast experience,” the YouTube team said in the statement. “We’re committed to being transparent in communicating future changes with our users and podcasters and will have more to share about this process in the coming months.”