July 24, 2014

Workaround, Possible Fix for Google Listen Bug [UPDATED]

For the past week or so, those of us who rely on Google’s podcatcher Listen have been stymied by a bug: subscriptions won’t update, leaving users with no new podcasts to listen to.  Quite a few people have reported this same issue in the Google Group for Listen users:

“Automatic refresh seems to have stopped working around Jan 13, or later for some people. It’s hard to tell if this is the case for absolutely everyone, since comments reflect a limited sample, but the problem seems to be widespread. When uninstalled and re-installed, the following things happen.

“Either:

  1. “You can only get one successful refresh cycle before refresh-all doesn’t work again. By successful I mean actually updating a podcast. If there is nothing to update, it seems like you can see the refresh-all cycling through for multiple attempts (if you keep trying) until there is something to update.
  2. “Once you play something or put something in the queue, refresh-all won’t work again.”

Listen is a Google Labs project, and its FAQ warns users to “remember to wear your safety glasses while using this app,” so it’s not too surprising that issues crop up with it now and then. Google staff have unfortunately not weighed in about the issue on the Google Group, but we’ve heard that a fix may be in the works. Update: The Listen team has posted a note to the Group acknowledging the issue and saying the problem is resolved. This seems to be confirmed by commenters on this post, though refresh all still does not seem to be working on my phone at the moment.

In the meantime, there is a workaround: manually refresh each feed individually; apparently it’s only the automated sync and the “refresh all” functionality that are currently broken.

Of course, another workaround is to use another podcatching app. Which one do you prefer?