Google has quietly removed embedded podcasts from search results, which means users will no longer be able to listen to podcast episodes directly from the SERPs.
This change was first spotted by Podnews, who received confirmation from a Google spokesperson that the removal was intentional.
This change will affect the ability to listen to individual podcast episodes without leaving Google, a feature that was launched in 2019.
Google will still include links to podcast episodes in search results, but users cannot listen to them directly from the search page.
Instead, users will be directed to the website where the podcast is hosted.
The decision to remove embedded podcasts from search results was made to provide a better user experience, according to a Google spokesperson.
“We’re constantly experimenting with ways to improve the experience for our users,” the spokesperson says in a statement to Podnews.
It’s unclear how this improves the user experience other than creating a leaner SERP.
Although Google didn’t give any prior notice, removing embedded podcasts from search results isn’t unexpected since the Google Podcasts app hasn’t been updated for 18 months.
The move will likely be met with some disappointment from searchers who routinely use the feature.
On the other hand, this change could result in more individuals subscribing to podcasts as they will no longer be able to listen to them through a quick search.
Google’s decision to remove embedded podcasts from search results might be part of a larger strategy to phase out the Google Podcasts product.
The fact that the app hasn’t been updated for over a year indicates that it may be headed for the Google graveyard.
However, this doesn’t imply that Google is abandoning the podcast industry altogether.
In 2021, a report from Bloomberg revealed that YouTube sought to hire someone to oversee its podcasting business.
This suggests that Google is committed to enhancing the podcast experience on YouTube, and the company may not want to compete against itself in that area.
Per a 2022 study conducted by Edison Research, YouTube is the leading platform for podcast listening, followed closely by Spotify.
That said, it makes sense why YouTube is the priority for Google for podcasts.
It’s worth noting that YouTube achieved this level of popularity without having a specific podcast category.
Before August, YouTube didn’t have a specific podcast category. Users had to search for them manually.
If Google discontinues its Podcasts app, the company will likely shift its focus to YouTube. This could mean that a YouTube Podcasts app is on the horizon.
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