Google will no longer provide links to playable podcasts in search results

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Google will no longer provide links to playable podcasts in search results

Google has confirmed it will no longer provide playable podcast links within search results; instead, the company will provide recommendations for similar shows. When the feature was released officially in 2019, it brought up podcasts that were relevant to a user’s query, including when the user included the term “podcast” in their query. The podcast carousels had previously appeared in Google Search results, but creators started noticing their absence a few weeks ago; the search giant has since provided an explanation.

Podnews.net first noticed the disappearance in January, when it noticed that Google Podcasts was no longer linked to or included in the results of any podcast searches. Testing the function with the query “history podcasts,” they were only given a list of shows along with links to podcast reviews, Apple Podcast pages, and other places to stream. Google simply informed the site that the feature was functioning “as intended.”

However, as of February 13, according to a new announcement in Google Podcasts Manager, the service will be discontinued permanently. Starting February 13th, Google Search will no longer feature podcast carousels. The message warns that “after that date, clicks and impressions in How people find your show will drop to zero.” The podcasting community is being urged to save any archived content they find valuable by downloading it before the service is shut down permanently.

Of course, as many podcasters learned, their numbers dropped even before the feature was officially discontinued. Admittedly, the playable podcasts in search feature wasn’t brilliantly implemented, as it didn’t allow users to do much beyond click to play an episode. The Podcasts vertical on YouTube, on the other hand, allows podcasters to include an index of the episode’s segments, so listeners can quickly find the part they want to hear. Additionally, if the podcast’s creator films, listeners can watch a video of the recording.

Compared to Google Podcasts and other similar services, YouTube has also won out in terms of user preference. By 2022, for instance, YouTube had surpassed Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts in listener preference. One recent report by Buzzsprout suggests that using a web browser as a listening app had a very small market share, only 3.5%, though many podcast market analysis reports don’t consider YouTube when comparing the popularity of various podcast apps. And despite Google’s indexing of shows, that percentage has barely budged over time.

When asked for comment, Google said that the shutdown of playable podcasts in Search would free up resources for a new feature. A representative explained, “Our existing podcast features will be gradually replaced by a new, single feature, What to Podcast.” They said the function is available now on U.S. English-speaking mobile devices. The feature “provides detailed information about podcasts, links to listen to shows on different platforms, and links to podcasters’ own websites, where available,” the spokesperson emphasised.

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According to the support materials, if the user is logged into their Google account, the recommendations will be tailored to their individual tastes based on their search history, pages visited, podcasts subscribed to, and more. If a user prefers more generic results, however, Google says they can disable the personalised recommendations.

Daniel Harrison

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