‘New Google Podcasts’ redesign starts rolling out w/ auto-download, new episode alerts

We’ve been tracking a significant redesign of Google’s Podcasts app on Android for the past several weeks. The “new Google Podcasts” is now beginning to roll out for some users and it brings highly-awaited features like episode auto-downloading.

Once live, you’ll be greeted with a “Check out the new Google Podcasts” prompt that highlights three parts of the app accessible from a bottom bar — the minimized player appears above it.

The “Home” tab shows the “latest episodes from your subscriptions.” It starts with a scrollable carousel for your shows that replaces the current grid layout. Instead of a barely visible blue “New” marker on the cover art, there is now a prominent red dot and cutout in the top-right.

Recommended podcasts you’re not following no longer appear below. You’re now greeted with a list of subscribed episodes. It includes two lines of show notes and the ability to start playback, as well as “add to queue” and initiating a download for offline access.

Suggestions are now under a dedicated “Discover” tab to “explore popular shows.” A search field is above, with shows and episodes shown below.

The “Activity” tab lets you “manage your queue, downloads, and subscriptions.” This latest version of Podcasts offers meaningful playback management. Episodes can be queued to start one after another — though there’s the option to disable auto-play. Other default playlists include “Downloads,” “History,” and “Subscriptions.”

However, the real power features in the new Google Podcasts start at “Settings” from the overflow menu. “Auto Downloading” for new episodes with this redesign looks to be live. It’s available for one person seeing the broader redesign today, but we should caution that the feature has been available for some users as far back as May. You currently have to manually start a download, with the new capability featuring the same auto-delete options to conserve on-device storage.

Next up are notifications for your subscriptions, with users able to select every show they want to receive alerts from. These preferences are oddly not live on a show page, and must be managed from full preferences.

The new Google Podcasts is not yet widely rolled out — even on the Google app beta channel. It follows the company finally bringing online a basic desktop homepage experience in February. With this upcoming mobile update, the company’s offering is no longer lacking basic functionality and serves as a feature-rich alternative that is available on every Android device.

Thanks Philip!

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com