Google Podcasts fans are furious about its demise – but YouTube Music fixes are coming

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Podcasts app
(Image credit: Google)

  • Google promises a "lot more improvements" for podcasts in YouTube Music
  • Google Podcasts fans remain angry and frustrated by the app's demise
  • Change has echoes of the Google Play Music shutdown in 2020

The latest unfortunate inhabitant of the Google Graveyard is the Google Podcasts app, which was officially canned on April 2 – and fans have been venting their frustration about being pushed to YouTube Music ever since. But now Google has tried to calm the unrest by promising that podcast-friendly fixes are coming to YouTube Music soon.

In a Reddit post on the YouTube Music subreddit, a Google employee confirmed that an update to the app (which rolled out on April 8) delivered a couple of useful features. These included the ability to sort a podcast's episodes by publish date, plus some improvements to search results. Listeners outside the US also got a new 'Recommended shows' shelf, which was already available in the US.

But Google also admitted that more fixes are needed to make YouTube Music a better place for podcast listeners. It said those recent tweaks were "only the beginning" and that the Podcast team is "working on a lot more improvements".

That will be music to the ears of Google Podcasts fans, who've been venting their frustrations on Reddit and in the reviews for the YouTube Music app on the Play Store. The chief complaints are that the YouTube Music app is way more bloated than Google Podcasts, making it far harder to find and play episodes, and the persistence of frustrating niggles like 'listened to' episodes remaining in the UI. 

For many, the change echoes the similarly controversial and frustrating switch from Google Play Music to YouTube Music back in 2020. Back then, YouTube Music became the default, preinstalled music player on Android 9 and 10 devices. But like YouTube Music's currently limited podcast talents, the app back then also had big holes – including no option to upload local MP3 files to the cloud to turn the app into a personal Spotify.

Sadly, it feels like a case of history repeating, but at least Google is promising further podcast fixes in the YouTube Music app – even though many Google Podcast fans have already jumped ship to alternatives like AntennaPod and Pocket Casts.

Why has Google done this?

YouTube Music

(Image credit: YouTube)

The only real plus side of this switchover from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music is that it didn't happen overnight, with Google announcing the change back in September 2023. It also provided some tools to allow Google Podcasts fans to transfer their subscriptions.

But why make the change at all? The official reason is that a switch from Google Podcasts to YouTube Music was already naturally happening, and there is some data to back up this claim.

In a blog post, Google revealed that (according to Edison market research) around 23% of weekly podcast users in the US said that YouTube was their most frequently used service for the format, with only 4% of listeners choosing Google Podcasts.

But it's clear that YouTube Music is, currently, a far inferior experience for dedicated podcast fans compared to the Google Podcasts app, and it isn't clear how quickly YouTube is going to roll out its promised fixes. It's also likely that the high returns of YouTube's video adverts, which Google's dedicated podcasts app lacked, played a part in the decision.

For now, Google Podcasts fans will have to endure niggles like the fact that the now-defunct app is still sending out notifications for new episodes from the grave. And if the YouTube Music experience continues to remain frustrating and undercooked, they can at least investigate switching to one of the many excellent alternatives like the Android-only AntennaPod, which is completely free and has no adverts.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.