If you enter a search term like "grilling podcasts" into Google, you'll now see playable podcast episodes right in the results page. In the future Google plans to tweak the feature to allow search to include podcast results even if you don't specify "podcast" in the query.
In addition, later this year Google Assistant will begin suggesting podcasts for you to listen to, and Google Podcasts for web will let you play episodes through your browser without needing to download an app.
This is all very convenient for podcast listeners. However, not all podcast producers will be happy about the change. The BBC, for example, pulled its podcasts from the Google Podcast app earlier this year. The broadcaster, which is supported by public money, objected to Google siphoning off traffic from its own app, saying it needed that user data to assess audience numbers.
Google hints that it is offering a truce with podcast producers on this issue though. A Google spokesperson said it will soon be adding "the ability for publishers to specify a playback destination, such as a third-party website or app," so that "people can discover podcasts that may be exclusively available by purchase or subscription on third-party podcast providers."
The new podcast features of search are rolled out today for English results in the US.