I was a little overwhelmed by the variety of podcasting apps in the Play Store, so i tried them all in a quest for the best. If it were up to me, I'd just use Google Play Music for everything.
Podcast AddictGoogle Play MusicPodcast PlayerBeyond PodPodcast RepublicHowever, GoPodcast Republicogle Play Music is not able to find a lot of the podcasts out there, which is too bad, because this poorly named app has a great interface, and also offers a great music service, even if you don't subscribe. Below are the results of a search for 'Death in Ice Valley', a true crime podcast from the BBC and Norwegian's NRK. It is about the mysterious unsolved death of a young woman in an isolated valley in Norway in the early seventies. I can find this in almost every podcasting app, but not in Google Play Music. Instead I am offered totally unrelated and unhelpful guesses as to what I might have been searching for.
So, I went on a quest to find the ultimate podcasting app, and ended up getting confused and bewildered. They all basically do the same thing, but just have different interfaces. Some have a lot of advanced features that allow granular adjustments to every function, and some barely do anything but download and play.
Then Google did a strange thing. They released another podcasting app. That's right, instead of fixing the limitations of their excellent Play Music app, they just added a totally different app, and it goes about things in a totally different way. By default, it doesn't download anything; it just allows you to directly stream podcasts. You can download any episode you want, but you have to do this manually for each one. Then you set how long you want it to keep un-listened episodes and listened episodes. Keep in mind, it hasn't actually downloaded these episodes unless you specifically made it download them, but they won't even show up in your list of listenable episodes. The result is a minimalist and clean interface. As long as you have good Wi-Fi and or LTE coverage, this actually works really well in practice. I'm using Sprint's great LTE network, and haven't had a problem streaming podcasts this way. In addition, Google is really trying hard to make sure that not only is it able to find almost any podcast, but that the world knows there is more to podcasting than just iTunes. Here is what happened when I searched for Death in Ice Valley:Not only did Google Podcasts find exactly the show I was looking for on the first try, but it also found something else completely unrelated to anything anyone has ever searched for. Seriously though, see how it only shows you the latest episodes? That's useful for current event programs like news or talk shows, but in the case of 'Death in Ice Valley' it is only useful if I'm caught up on all the preceding episodes. No worried, just click on "More episodes" and they are all there. See what I mean? Clean and simple. It just works.
My thing is, I mostly listen to podcasts when driving (or mowing the lawn) and don't want to mess with a complicated interface. I just want to be able to play it by saying, "OK Google, play a podcast." and then go back to Waze, all without taking my eyes off the road or my lawn. Well, you can tell Google to play a specific artist in Google Play Music, but it can't queue up podcasts via voice commands. In fact, none of the gajillion podcast apps can respond to your voice until Google Podcasts was released. I think I've found a winner here. Easy to navigate, dependably fetches the latest episodes of my favorite podcasts, doesn't fill my phone up with old files, and can play them when I ask it to.
In case you are interested in some good podcasts, I recommend "Start Here" from ABC news that has a new episode every weekday morning. It takes about twenty minutes to go more in depth with headline stories. It's a good way to start a drive.
From there, I'm always up for NPR's hilarious, 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!', a weekly news quiz. The BBC has a similar show called "The News Quiz". Both are entertaining and keep you up to date on what's happening.
'Wooden Overcoats' is a really funny British sitcom about two rival funeral homes in a small village on a tiny island. One of them focuses on customer service, while the rival only cares about efficiency; "We get the body in the coffin in the ground on time".
Finally, another really entertaining and educational BBC show presented by two scientists that explain the everything about the world around us called, 'The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry'.
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