Five things you need to know about podcasts for Google Play Music

As some of you may already know, Google today launched the podcast aspect of its Google Play Music service. And, while we’re extremely excited about keeping our podcasts in the same place we have music and playlists, it’s not a perfect system yet.

Given this is Google we’re talking about, we suspect we will see a lot of iterating and updating of the features over time. In other words, the stuff you see today will likely not look anything like what’s offered six months from now. But, for the short term, we’re stuck with some limited capabilities out of the gate. Here are a few things you need to know about podcasts for Google Play Music.

You can listen without subscribing. Want to check out an episode or two of a show but aren’t ready to fully dive in? That’s okay, you can listen to individual shows, going back dozens of episodes or further. Radiolab, for instance, lets you go all the way back to 2011 for shows.

Google notifies you of new episodes. Once subscribed, Google Play Music will let you know if and when something new is available for your feed. It’s a nice touch, but not something unexpected.

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There are only 20 podcasts at launch. There are some very notable and noteworthy podcasts to subscribe to, spanning a variety of trusted names in the space. Naturally, podcast creators are encouraged by Google to submit their feeds so they can be indexed by the giant.

You cannot manually add your own favorite podcasts. Sorry, you can’t simply subscribe to a preferred podcast by pasting an RSS feed. In other words, you’ve gotta pick from what’s available. Our advice to you is to tell your favorite shows to submit to Google.

It hasn’t fully rolled out yet. Your experience may vary depending on what sort of device you plan to use for listening. We had no issues subscribing to a few while on the desktop website. Switching over to mobile, however, we didn’t have a way to pull them up. It appears it’s a gradual rollout and may be server side or related to specific version of the Google Play Music app.

We’re anxious to see what happens when Google really gets behind podcasts and content creators are providing feeds. The first selections are a good start, and the system looks pretty simple, but we’re already looking down the road.