Google Podcasts bags a brand-new look and key features on iOS

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It's finally a real podcasts app.
Photo: Google

Google in recent days began rolling out a brand-new look for its Podcasts app on iOS for mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. The overhaul integrates a number of new features into a cleaner user interface that’s split into just three tabs.

The changes are designed to make using Google Podcasts easier and more enjoyable — and to bring it up to speed with rivals.

Google Podcasts has been around for a while now, and anyone who’s used it for an extended period of time will tell you it rarely feels like a priority for Google. But it’s important enough to get a big redesign.

The new version of the app is a huge improvement over the last, adding key features like automatic downloads, notifications, and algorithmic recommendations.

Google Podcasts gets an overhaul on iOS

These probably sound like basic features you would expect to find in any podcasts app. That’s because the majority have offered things like automatic downloads and new episode notifications for years now.

They’re not the only things that make Google Podcasts better, though. A big selling point is its new design, which is split into Home, Explore, and Activity tabs that make navigation much simpler.

Home is where you’ll find the shows you’re already subscribed to. It displays a list of shows you’re halfway through and new episodes, with handy buttons that let you begin playback immediately.

The Explore tab offers up recommendations based on what you’re already into, and shows you what’s “Popular & trending.” It also lets you browse categories like news, business, arts, and comedy.

Recommendations are notable; they’re one of the things that have given Spotify an advantage in podcasts. They can be handy when you finish a great show and need to scratch the itch for something similar.

A fresh lick of paint

In the Activity tab, you can find and manage your queue, current downloads, your listening history, and a list of your subscriptions.

Google hopes these changes will not only make Podcasts a more enjoyable experience, but will also help users find new and existing subscriptions that keep them coming back to the Podcasts app.

Google Podcasts is a free download on iPhone. Not everyone is seeing the new look yet, but it has started its rollout and should reach all users soon.