After years and years of waiting, Google finally launched an official podcast app on June 19. Android has long needed a first-party solution for downloading and listening to podcasts, and now that that solution is here and we’ve had time to really dig deep, it’s time to figure out if it was worth it. wait or not.
Prior to the launch of Google Podcasts, Shifty Jelly’s Pocket Casts were long considered the Must-have podcast app for Android. Does that sentiment change now that Google’s app has arrived, or does Pocket Casts still reign supreme as the home for podcasts on Android?
Without further ado, it’s Google Podcasts versus Pocket Casts!
What Google Podcasts Does Best
If you’re a fan of Google’s new design language for its proprietary apps, you’ll feel right at home with Google Podcasts. The Product Sans font is fully displayed with lots of white and the colorful Google logo at the top. The user interface is also very easy to understand with search and menu buttons at the top and a play bar at the bottom.
The integration with Google Assistant/Home is incredibly useful.
As nice as the Android Google Podcasts app may seem, the real star of the show is its direct integration with the Google Assistant.
Whether you’re on your phone or talking to Google Home, you can ask the Assistant to play a podcast and it’ll automatically select the last episode of the show you requested or pick up where you left off. Once you’ve stopped listening, you can return to the Google Podcasts app and pick up where you left off on your Google Home.
This synchronization between Google Podcasts and Google Home works like a charm, and the best part is that there is no configuration required to make it work.
Plus, Google Podcasts has a handy feature that lets you quickly donate to the shows you love right from the app. If a show supports it, just hit the blue donate button and you can start funding it right away!
What Pocket Casts Does Even Better
For all that Google Podcasts does, however, Pocket Casts still reigns supreme when it comes to the in-app experience.
Pocket Casts continues to offer more functionality and user customization.
The Pocket Casts home screen displays all the podcasts you are currently subscribed to and you can quickly rearrange their appearance by podcast name, episode release date, manually configure the layout with swipe- drop and even change the grid size to see more (or less) of it on your screen at once.
Both apps allow you to download individual episodes, but only Pocket Casts allows you to manually download all unplayed episodes and automatically download new ones as they are released.
Other benefits of Pocket Casts include two dark themes, advanced notification settings, syncing to your Pocket Casts account, and easier podcast discovery with the ability to find new shows by category, network, trending, and more.
Also, while Pocket Casts isn’t integrated with the Google Assistant, you can cast it to any of your Google Home speakers and/or Homegroups created in the Google Home app.
When it comes to pricing, this is where Google gets a big advantage.
Downloading Google Podcasts is completely free, but on the other hand, you will have to shell out $3.99 to get Pocket Casts on your phone.
Also, if you want to access Pocket Casts on your computer, you will have to pay an additional $9 to access its web client.
Although these two apps aim to do the same thing, they are very different in their approach to doing so.
Google Podcasts offers a very basic built-in experience that’s functional but lacks some key features we’ve come to love from competing services. However, if you’re someone who has a Google Home and would rather use your voice to listen to your favorite shows than fumble around with a mobile app, Google Podcasts is a great choice.
Download: Google Podcasts (Free)
That said, if Google Assistant controls aren’t important to you, Pocket Casts easily offers more features, a better thought out design, and will be getting a major overhaul later this year to make it even better.
The $3.99 admission price is something to consider, but for the amount of polish and features that come with Pocket Casts, $3.99 is a bargain.
Download: Pocket Casts ($3.99)
What do you think?
Now that I’m done talking, I’d love to hear from you! After using and loving Google Podcasts, are you going to stick with Pocket Casts or go find your podcasts elsewhere? Drop a comment below and let me know!
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