Google Play Music is already kind of hard to describe since there are so many different ways to use Google’s online music service. Soon it won’t even just be a music service: Google has announced that it’s adding support for podcasts.
Currently you can use Google Play Music as a free cloud storage service. Upload up to 50,000 of your own songs to Google’s servers and you can listen to them on just about any internet-connected smartphone, tablet, or computer with a web browser.
You can also pay $10 per month for an Unlimited subscription, which lets you stream millions of songs on-demand. That same subscription also gives you a YouTube Red account, letting you watch videos on YouTube without seeing any ads.
Google Play is also a music store: you can buy songs or albums that you get to keep. And there’s also Songza-like music discovery features including curated playlist and “instant mix” features that let you create a playlist with songs similar to one that you start with.
Like I said, it can be a bit tough to describe.
So where do podcasts fit in? Right now Google is asking podcasters to start uploading shows to its servers by submitting an RSS feed. In the future, users will be able to search or browse the directory to find shows or episodes they might like to listen to, and Google plans to generate contextual playlists to help you discover new podcasts you might not even have known you were looking for.
Among other things, Google will let listeners find podcasts depending on mood, interest, or activity so you can find the perfect companion for running, working, cleaning, house, or road trips.
Google says some big names in the podcast world are already onboard, including Gimlet, Slate, Public Radio International, This Week in Tech, Tim Ferris, Nerdist, and HBO.