YouTube's interest in podcasts appears to extend beyond paying creators to make videos. 9to5Google notes YouTube has quietly launched a podcast Explore page. Only some people can access it on desktop or mobile, but those that can will see popular channels, episodes and playlists as well as categories and recommended shows. At present, you'll see standard video thumbnails and playback controls, even if you're a YouTube Premium subscriber who normally sees listening-oriented options.
We've asked YouTube for comment. The Explore page appears to have gone live near the end of July, but is only now becoming more widely available. It's not clear what (if anything) will happen to Google Podcasts.
While YouTube's longer-term plans aren't evident, the new area suggests the Google brand is positioning itself as an alternative to major podcast clients like Apple Podcasts and Spotify. That wouldn't be surprising if so. YouTube already hosts numerous podcasts, particularly those that have video versions. The Explore page could draw more attention to those productions and encourage more podcasters to publish their work on YouTube.