Google adds playable podcast episodes to search results

Google is making it easier to find and listen to audio content specific to your search interests, with playable episodes surfaced in results that start rolling out today.

Playable podcasts will show up in results when you use “podcasts” as a keyword in your search, in combination with other terms. It’s intended to deliver relevant results freed from the confines of a dedicated podcast player, and Google also intends to extend this search feature to queries that don’t even specify “podcast” as it refines its algorithms.

Google is also going to be rolling out this inline playable results feature for the search function in Google Podcasts on the web, and for Google Assistant. If you’re logged in, it’ll also sync your results so you can pick up from wherever you left off in the dedicated Google Podcasts app.

This should be good for discoverability, since it means that a much broader potential audience can stumble across your podcasts than would be possible with existing tools, and sample them on the spot. But Google still plans to roll out finer controls for publishers, which means you can specify where people can listen to them, and presumably where they can’t.

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It’s yet another sign that podcasts are slowly and surely becoming more prevalent and mainstream, and that Google is very interested in making sure that it doesn’t fall behind on ensuring this content is part of its overall search index and not the exclusive domain of other, more closed ecosystems that exist outside its sphere of influence.

Google is going to be rolling this out gradually beginning today, with initial availability open to U.S. users searching in English.