Android Users Saddened by Loss of Free App

( – Android users who enjoy podcasts will now have to adapt to a new change from Google, which has decided to shut down its free Google Podcasts app.

In an announcement to its users, Google said the app would officially close on Tuesday, April 2, and warned its users that they would have to migrate to YouTube Music or elsewhere for podcasts hosted on Google Podcasts. Users who don’t migrate their current subscriptions won’t be able to stream directly from the app after the scheduled date. According to Techcrunch, Google will provide extra time to migrate subscriptions to other servicers even though all streaming will stop on the scheduled date.

Google Podcasts was a popular streaming service for podcast listeners, with over 500 million installations on Android devices across the globe. Along with simple tools to manage podcasts through an RSS feed, it offered a simple interface for users to discover, follow, and listen to new podcasts.

The decision by the Big Tech giant is part of a larger plan to direct users to YouTube where they will centralize audio services onto the platform, which was originally designed as a video platform. Although April 2 is the cut-off point for the US, a complete timeline of when the app will be discontinued elsewhere hasn’t been announced, although Google reportedly has a plan to have it phased out globally before 2024 ends.

Not all users are happy with the decision, many of them expressing their grievances with having to switch over to YouTube Music and deciding to go with alternative Android apps instead. YouTube Music will also continue to compete with Apple and Spotify, which are substantially more popular.

YouTube as a brand also suffered a blow in the eyes of the podcasting world after breaking with Joe Rogan over censorship issues, prompting an exclusive deal with Spotify in 2020. The break drove more people toward Spotify for podcast listening and eventually watching after Spotify adapted to video options to accommodate Rogan’s show.

Full video episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience, perhaps the biggest podcast in the world, have now returned to YouTube after the exclusive contract with Spotify ended and a new one was drawn up, extending the reach of Rogan’s show. Interestingly, it does not appear under the YouTube Podcasts index because it is not marked as such in YouTube Studio.

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