TPS Ep. 061 – Google Listen Discontinued

Google announces that it will no longer support their native podcasting application, Google Listen.Google Listen Discontinued

If you are using the Listen app, you’ll still be able to listen to podcasts however after Novemeber 11, 2012 the search function will no longer work.

Google says because of the proliferation of podcasting apps available in their app store, Google Play, there is no need for their own app and essentially surrenders the podcasting market over to Apple, Zune and other large operating systems.

Does this make sense to you? What does it mean that Google has given up on podcasts?

Rob Walch and I discuss our initial reactions to the news. Let us know in the comments how you feel about this move.

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About Ray Ortega

Host of The Podcasters' Studio and Podcasters' Roundtable. Podcasting is my full time job, co-producing for a large non-profit network of podcasts. In my spare time I enjoy sharing my experience and helping others produce high quality podcasts.

Comments

  1. I agree that this is not good news for podcasters. Google could have done so much more with the app if they had taken the time to dedicate the resources to making it a great one. I've used it for years and it has a lot of potential.

    As Rob said, if we all let Google know what we think perhaps they rescind the decision.

  2. Another thing to consider regarding podcast consuption on Android is the fact that there is a significant number of Android users who use the Stitcher application for listening to podcasts. Because of the way Stitcher handles the show episodes, those download numbers will not be reflected in the stats of your media host.

  3. I'm a bit surprised and disappointed by Google's decision, but not very. It was only recently that Apple produced a dedicated podcast app for iOS, so it's weird to hear people dumping on Google for dropping Google Listen. Why did it take Apple so long? Anyway, there are a number of good podcasting apps on Android. I use BeyondPod. What's so bad about using a third-party app for podcasts?

    • Geoffrey, great feedback. It's true that Apple didn't have a dedicated podcast app until recently but they've always been available via the iTunes app which is the same way it works on the desktop. I think the development of a standalone podcast app is encouraging for podcasters and shows the very big difference between them and Google in terms of how they see podcasts. They are heading in opposite directions.

      I agree there are many great podcasting apps and for consumers that might be all we need. I myself consume all of my podcast on Pocket Casts which is both Android and iOS. However for the podcaster, for the web content producer I think having such a large and influential entity like Google (who I like) not supporting or essentially giving up on podcasts can only be bad.

      So for me, it's a big picture sort of view. As a podcaster and someone who only wants to see the success of the medium and the people involved in it, it's disappointing to see the largest web company brush it aside. At this point I don't know if there will be any lasting effects but it certainly doesn't feel like progress.

      • gplauche says:

        To play Devil's Advocate, maybe podcasters have been spoiled by iTunes. Websites and blogs don't have the advantage of that kind of centralized discovery and distribution. But we manage. I don't use iTunes or any Apple products. I'm a Linux and open source guy as a matter of preference. I don't like Apple's walled-garden, lock-in, anti-tinkering, aggressive use of IP business model. I use Windows when necessary, and Windows 7's not bad. As much as I like many of Google's products, I rather like not relying upon one company for everything and I rather like companies that don't try to make me do so.

        All of the podcasts I listen to, I found via Google search or another website or podcast. I tried Google Listen briefly when I got my Android tablet. It was too barebones for me, although some people liked that. It's not much of a loss, in my opinion. I miss Google Notebook more. Even if Google hadn't killed Listen, I doubt they would have developed it heavily and built an iTunes-like listing of podcasts. So it's not the status quo people are lamenting the loss of but rather some ideal that may never have been realized anyway. Sure, it would be nice if Google competed hotly with Apple over podcasting, but anyone complaining now should have been complaining nearly as loudly before.

        As for Rob's fears over Feedburner. I think they were unnecessary and hyperbolic. Google Listen was a little used, underdeveloped app that catered to a rather limited niche within Android. Feedburner is a developed, established product used heavily not only by podcasters but tons of websites and blogs. I don't see Google deciding to shut it down suddenly.

  4. I agree with the sentiments over Google listen, but Rob's derogatory comments about Android and it's users smelled like fanboyism.

    Doesn't Rob charge for service that tries to compete with some of the features that feedburner gives us? I know that nearly every podcaster (You, Cliff Ravenscraft and Dave Jackson to name a few) says to use Libsyn for HOSTING and STATS ONLY.

    • I would say that's how I mostly use Libsyn but I would not tell others to only use it that way. The way people set up podcasts varies widely and Libsyn allows you to do everything you need to publish a podcast. So it's perfectly capable of handling all of the needs of a podcaster. And in some cases I would totally recommend using them as your whole solution. In my case, I'm more geeky and I use it differently and that's what you find from other podcasters who have deep knowledge about feeds, websites, etc. But the average user is more likely to want or need an easier solution and Libsyn can provide that.

      Rob is the first person to tell you he's a fanboy however he has stats to back up his claims and the fact is most people don't buy Droids to consume the web. Those of us who live in a tech bubble do, but since Android is so abundant, practically existing on almost all phones that don't have an "i" in their name, the majority becomes a very, very large number and the device, right now, is primarily a phone. That's not to say it won't be different with time.

      Libsyn's competition is really only one other company and that's Blubrry. These are the two best podcast hosts in the biz. Feedburner does not host content and isn't a necessary piece of podcasting therefore I don't see either company in competition with them.

      I love that this is stirring so much debate. I think it takes us into other issues regarding podcasting and it's healthy for us to talk about them. I really appreciate your feedback and your listenership and I look forward to hearing more.

      Thanks Gary!

  5. It is always very frustrating listening to someone comment about something they know little to nothing about. The guest on the show was obviously (and, to be fair, he did admit to this) biased about his views towards Android. Google Listen wasn't "native" to Android's operating system, it was simply another app in the marketplace that happened to be developed by Google. Android users either prefer or are accustomed to choosing the developer and the specific app they want to use for each use case, which is why this is not a big deal whatsoever. With so many great offerings such as Pocket Casts, BeyondPod, and DoggCatcher, just to name a few, nothing has changed for Android users except for one less clunky app in Google Play.

    • Thanks Adam,

      I agree that not much has changed or matters for the podcast consumer. I myself use Pocket Casts. However, the bigger picture in this case is Google's decision that podcasting is not something they have any more interest in. And that is potentially harmful for producers.

      For those of us that produce web content specifically podcasts, not having the support of the largest web company is a shame. Google has the ability to vault any technology they want into a mainstream product however in this case it appears they have no interest in helping podcasters.

      This may not end up mattering but it's a shame to see from a giant like Google and that's where the real disappointment and dissatisfaction comes in. It's a much larger picture than the simple loss of an app.

      This topic has some great feedback and I'm glad people are at least talking about it. Thanks for the feedback!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I listened to my friend Ray Ortega’s podcast with Rob Walch talk about this subject I agree with Rob. We aren’t upset about the loss of Google listen, we […]

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