Yesterday, HBO's Bill Simmons tipped the arrival of podcasts in Google Play Music this month, and the launch appears to be close at hand. In fact, Android Police reports that podcasts are showing up inside the app for a few users. Google revealed its plans to bring the episodic audio content to its app back in October, but there was no word on a launch date or how they would work with the existing software. Thanks to an apparent server issue during the test phase, we now have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
As you might expect, the Podcast section looks like the rest of Google Play Music. Shows are arranged in a card-like interface with artwork and detailed descriptions. On the show screen, there are controls for playing the most recent episode, subscribing or reading all of the info on the podcast. If you opt to subscribe, the app will ask you if you want to automatically download the five most recent episodes or receive notifications when new material is posted.
When you begin playing an episode, the interface offers those skip ahead and skip back 30 seconds buttons that are a must alongside the usual play/pause and skip controls. There are some other features we'd like to see in the final version (like playlist controls), but the integration looks pretty straightforward. We just hope the selections aren't limited to a collection of popular shows. Podcasts will also show up when you search from the main menu, so you don't have to navigate to the dedicated section in order to hunt for one. There's still no word on when this will go live for everyone, but it looks like Mr. Simmons may have been correct after all.