Google Podcasts is an all-in-one audio app that comes bundled with most Android phones. You can use it to play and manage your music library, including listening to songs stored on your device, uploading your music to Google’s cloud, and getting personalized recommendations from Google. With an optional paid subscription, you can get unlimited access to thousands of songs at a flat monthly rate. You don't need to pay for a Google Music subscription to listen to podcasts, but you do need to be signed into a Google account. The good news is that your podcast subscriptions and playback positions are synced between devices signed into that Google account.
How to subscribe:
- From the Play Music home page, swipe left or right to locate the search button. Or locate it near the top right-hand corner of the screen. Then double-tap to select it and bring up the keyboard.
- Type the name of the show you’re interested in, such as NOW with Dave Brown.
- Results will immediately begin appearing above the keyboard. But since you’re searching through the entire Google Play Music catalogue, including songs and albums, you may need to enter the entire show name to narrow down the results.
- Locate the show you want by touch, exploring with your finger above the keyboard. Then double-tap to select it.
- You will be taken to a page with more info about the podcast, including a list of recent episodes. Locate the subscribe button by swiping left and right, then double-tap to select it.
- A confirmation page will appear, which you can navigate by swiping left and right through the controls. If you want new podcasts to be downloaded automatically, swipe right until you hear “download the latest three episodes”. Then swipe right once more and you’ll land on the switch to toggle this on or off. Double-tap to turn it on. If you want, you can also use the same procedure to enable a notification alert when new episodes are available. Once you’ve made your choices, find the subscribe button and double-tap on it.
How to listen:
- Double-tap on the menu button, announced as “show navigation drawer”, near the top left-hand corner of the screen. This opens a menu where you can navigate between different sections of the app like music library, playlists, settings, and more. This button should always be visible when you launch Play Music, but if you’re in a screen where you can’t see it, you can use the back button in the bottom left-hand corner to retrace your steps.
- Swipe right until you hear “podcasts”, then double-tap to select it. Or locate the icon manually by touching near the middle of the screen, then double-tap.
- There are two tabs along the top of the screen: “your podcasts”, which displays a list of podcasts you’ve subscribed to, and “top charts”. Select the “your podcasts” tab, then locate the show you want to play by touch or by swiping right through the screen. You can double-tap on the name of a show to select it and bring up a list of episodes, if you’re looking for something specific. Or just swipe once more to the right, and you’ll locate a play button which you can use to just start listening, beginning with the most recent episode.
- If you bring up the list of episodes, you can once again navigate by swiping right or left and double-tap on the episode you want to listen to. By default, playing an episode will also download and save it in the cache, so it’s available offline. A “get info” button next to each episode brings up options such as a toggle that you can use to download an episode or remove the download from the cache.
- While an episode is playing, you can locate and double-tap the “now playing” button to bring up a screen where you can rewind and fast-forward through the episode. This button is located near the bottom of the screen.
- While in the now playing screen, you can swipe left and right to move through the controls. These include buttons for skipping backwards and forwards 15 seconds, skipping to the previous or next episode, and a pause button. You will also find a seek control, which you can use to read your elapsed time and the total length of the episode. While focused on this control, Talkback allows you to use the volume up and down buttons on your device to jump forwards and backwards in five-minute increments. Use the back button in the bottom left-hand corner to leave this screen.
Play Music's preferences can be adjusted by opening the navigation drawer, and double-tapping on settings. One setting you may wish to monitor from time to time is the “manage downloads” option, which shows all the audio that's stored on your device and lets you delete individual songs and episodes that you're done with. From the settings screen, you can also disable “cache music while streaming”, which prevents every show you play from being downloaded and saved on your device.
Google Play On the Web:
It's worth noting that you can also access a reasonably accessible version of Google Play Music on your computer using a web browser. This may be a handy way of listening to AMI-audio during your coffee break at work, or anywhere else where you have a computer but aren't allowed to install your favourite podcasting app. In fact, if you sign into the same Google account you use with Play Music on your Android phone, you'll see the same subscriptions wherever you access Google Play.
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