Google Podcasts disappears from Search results

Podcasts have seen a resurgence in popularity over the past several years, with Google Podcasts having launched as a way to better listen to and manage podcasts across platforms. But the product has been quiet for quite some time, and now Google Podcasts has disappeared from Search results too.

The pitch of Google Podcasts originally was that it was available across a variety of devices. You could search for and start a podcast from Google Search on your desktop browser, only to take that to the Google app on your phone on the commute home, to finally finish by asking Google Assistant on a smart speaker to resume the same podcast. It was a neat experience Google built out over the course of nearly six years, but things have slowed down quite a bit.

As our Abner Li has diligently documented, Google Podcasts saw a lot of work in 2020, as the company debuted a new redesign on mobile, as well as constantly improving the experience on the web. The app even came to iOS, and Google built out tools for podcast managers to better take advantage of the service. But as other brands made big moves with podcasting, Google’s investment started to come into question as big changes were becoming fewer and further in between.

In late 2021, reports claimed that YouTube was looking to bolster its podcast experience, and in the time since, we haven’t heard much about Google Podcasts. There haven’t been any updates to the product in over a year.

Now, Podnews reports that Google has removed Podcasts from Search results.

Google confirmed to the publication that this is working “as intended,” meaning the company has purposefully removed this experience from Search. Since 2018, Podcasts in Search have allowed users to start podcast episodes directly from search results, but that functionality has recently disappeared. Notably, we’re still able to get some episodes to appear when searching on Android, but not in the same style.

The reasoning for this removal was not explained by Google beyond a spokesperson saying that “we’re constantly experimenting with ways to improve the experience for our users.” But it seems pretty clear that Google Podcasts is a product on life support, perhaps just limping to pass the baton over to YouTube.

More on Podcasts:

Note: Added correction that some podcast episodes are still showing in search results in the Google app on Android.

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