Although they have been around for years now, podcasts are becoming big again in the age of music streaming. Rivals Spotify and Apple are already gearing up for war, and even Amazon, which has its own Amazon Music subscription service, has jumped into the fray. It’s no surprise, then, to hear that YouTube may be setting its sights on the market since it also does music streaming. Unfortunately, Google is no stranger to podcasts, and the confusion that might ensue could open up old wounds over the Google Play Music fiasco.
Mirroring its myriad messaging platforms, Google has a somewhat confusing assortment of multimedia platforms and services that may be shut down at any given time. That’s what happened when Google retired Play Music in favor of YouTube Music, and it might do so in the future for Play Movies & TV, which might be confused for YouTube itself or Google TV. It seems that the same confusing story will unfold yet again, this time over podcasts.
Bloomberg reveals that YouTube is looking to hire people with expertise in the podcasting industry, which is both a new direction for the Google company and a familiar territory at the same time. Creators already host podcasts on YouTube in video form, often with just some cover art but sometimes with video feeds taped during the podcast recording. Expanding YouTube Music to include podcasts almost sounds natural, except it might not be as far as Google is concerned.
Google already has a Podcasts app, and its treatment is actually very different from your typical podcasting experience. Google Podcasts is tied with Search, even showing playback controls in search results. Podcasts, then, is simply a convenient place to gather content indexed from podcasting services and sites, similar to how Google News functions.
It’s too early in the game to see how YouTube’s interests in podcasts will eventually affect Google Podcasts, but it’s pretty clear at this point how the two differ in how they treat and handle the same type of multimedia content. Google could end up having two distinct podcasting apps again, which will eventually be merged into one again someday, much to the consternation of one or the other camp.