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August 21, 2009

Google Listen, a Podcast Manager for Android

As you probably noticed, Google releases many interesting services as Android applications and some of them are part of Google Labs: an application that records GPS tracks, a star map, a directory of points of interest. The latest release is an application titled Google Listen, a player for podcasts.

"Listen from Google Labs brings podcasts and web audio to your Android-powered device. It lets you search, subscribe, download and stream. By subscribing to programs and search terms it will create a personalized audio-magazine loaded with fresh shows and news stories whenever you listen."


The application lets you search thousands of podcasts, so it will be interesting to see if the podcast search engine will have a web interface. For now, Google Listen is an experiment and Google still has work to do to improve "networking, sdcard management, download storage, subscription updates, search quality, indexing more web audio, additional languages, and user experience".

And speaking of Google's Android apps, Anil Dash made an interesting point last month: "Google's recent development work on applications for mobile devices has often been delivered exclusively as applications for their own Android platform instead of as iPhone applications, despite the fact that iPhones are roughly forty times more popular in the marketplace."

39 comments:

  1. Good job Google!

    http://listen.googlelabs.com/

    "Over Quota
    This application is temporarily over its serving quota. Please try again later."

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  2. You can find it in the Android marketplace.

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  3. @Angelo:

    Google Labs is built using Google App Engine, so maybe someone forgot to remove quota restrictions.

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  4. I can't find it in the Android Market, and http://listen.googlelabs.com is over quota. Anyone have another download link I can try?

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  5. The only surprise regarding the last paragraph is that it took Google so long to start cranking out Android-specific apps. I think several of their apps that came out on both iPhone and Android has less functionality on Android, and they need to make Android more compelling if they want to gain any marketshare. As many more Android devices are starting to come out over the next year, I expect to see more of this.

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  6. This strikes me as a response to the excellent prepod app for the Palm Pre.

    http://forums.precentral.net/showthread.php?p=1775430

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  7. @Anil Dash, there are lots of developers only developing for Android even though iPhone is a bigger market. Has this guy considered that these apps by Google may not be a corporate strategy to push Android, that they are just spawned from employees 20 percent time who enjoy the Android phone and it's unique capabilities?

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  8. @Alex Chitu

    Yeah I realised that'd be the case... Hehehehehe. ;-)

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  9. This is really amazing!
    Good job for GOOGLE..

    Keep up the good work.

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  10. This isn't ready for prime-time - barely any podcasts available.

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  11. Google is so terrible at having any sort of platform strategy. Its silly that a podcast app came out for android *before* a Google integrated task list. I suppose its tricky in that there are now todo lists for both gmail and google calendar. Google wants badly to be Microsoft but their current structure can't support that sort of development effort (completely flat, everyone working on whatever they want to).

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  12. Oops, gmail tasks and gcal tasks are one and the same. Other complaints still hold.

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  13. "And speaking of Google's Android apps, Anil Dash made an interesting point last month: "Google's recent development work on applications for mobile devices has often been delivered exclusively as applications for their own Android platform instead of as iPhone applications, despite the fact that iPhones are roughly forty times more popular in the marketplace.""

    Why is this interesting? iPhones are forty more times popular because they have been on the market longer, they are great products and they have a successful Applications store. Google would like to do the same thing with Android so obviously they need to take the lead and develop similar applications for Android. The iPhone does not need Google to develop applications for them...there are plenty of software developers doing that already for the iPhone.

    Anil Dash's point is stupid and really meaningless in the big picture.

    I would love to see Android succeed but right now I am even hesitant to buy an Android phone because they have disappointed by not having already developed certain competing applications that are obvious such as iTunes for Apple. "Listen" is a step in the right direction but it seems that Google would have such an application fully developed and tested prior to launching Android.

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  14. I am a huge google fan boy, but I am unimpressed with Listen. There are several things wrong with it. The most shocking is how horrid the search is. I can't find any of the podcasts that I listen to.

    They could easily make up for the search fail by giving us the ability to enter the RSS feed of our favorite podcasts. But that feature doesn't appear to exist.

    I noticed that when you click on an RSS feed for a podcast via the browser it will ask if you want to use Listen to open it. That works great, but not all links are recognized. I am not sure yet, what format the links have to be in to be recognized.

    In any case, I am not impressed. Any other company and this app wouldn't get off the ground. But for a search company, I list this as an epic fail.

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  15. I'm think of buying an Android Phone but Microsoft is looking better all the time.

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  16. Google's Listen app is not perfect but for being in beta phase it works great. So far I've been able to find all the podcasts I listen to normally.

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  17. Will support for video come at some point?

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  18. I got hooked on iTunes U recently, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through a class on Operating Systems from Berkley. I was hanging on to an old 2GB iPod Nano for this purpose because I hated the way my BlackBerry handled multimedia.

    When I got my Droid, I moved over to Google Listen, and I have been very pleased so far. My only complaint currently is that when I manually add a new feed, it only gives me 10 episodes. Naturally, if I want to listen to an entire 34 lecture class, just getting the last 10 episodes isn't going to cut it.

    Still, I like the interface. It is easy to use. Adding subscriptions is super easy.

    I would love to see web based management of subscriptions and listen queues.

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  19. Subscribe your Android phone directly to podcasts in the iTunes store with Feed Flipper. This free web-based app will convert any iTunes podcast into a usable RSS feed which can be subscribed to with the Android RSS reader of your choice (Google Listen, for example). No phone/PC install required.

    http://picklemonkey.net/flipper/convert.php

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  20. I own both iTouch and Android. But Google Listen is very disappointing. Can't find any podcast that I listen to. I had to say this but Apple's iTunes gives much better experience in organizing podcasts.

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  21. Note that you can now manage Google Listen via the Google Reader interface... so you have the web-management that helps some of the issues people had - think you need v1.1 for this integration.

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  22. I'm in Malaysia, can't install it? Don't see it in the market

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  23. I love the way this application looks and feels but I'm very surprised that it doesn't pick up 'This Reality Podcast' in any search.

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  24. so... any way to get this without having market?

    running an htc hero.. don't really wanna root to get marketplace, but looking more and more likely....

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  25. Worst app I've downloaded. Zero documentation, confusing interface, strange behavior, and no integration with the music player.

    On the bright side, even though the search function sucks, at least you can add podcasts via Reader.

    I really, really wish Android had a decent podcast app.

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  26. Works exceptionally well. A constant source of pleasure. Never liked podcasts, this app made me appreciate them.
    Great job, Google!

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  27. Google really needs to try harder in this field. I recently bought an Android phone and I want it to find and play my favourite radio station and podcasts. Trying to do this is costing me a lot of time in research and work-rounds. If Google doesn't sort this out soon I will be forced to buy an i-phone.

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  28. I loved this application until I updated my Droid with Android 2.2 and now Google Listen is so unstable and unpredictable that it's not worth using. Podcasts stop and start at the beginning unexpectedly, the scroll bar to go earlier or later in the podcast simply does not work at all, many podcasts just don't download or play, period. Too bad. I deleted it from my Droid and downloaded another application that's not nearly as good in terms of interface and usability, but at least it works.

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  29. @Jon F Hancock

    so, the google Listen can subscribe the Itune U?
    right??

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  30. We really need a way to play Queued item from Oldest to Newest instead of Newest to Oldest.

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  31. I've found Listen to be ok so far but as others have noted the search isn't the best. I'm trying to get my own podcast to come up on a search and so far no dice. But I can get it to come up by typing in the full rss feed address. I can also get it to sync up with Reader but it's a little bit iffy still. But for a Beta it's pretty good. Just hope they continue the development.

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  32. rarely works for me on my lg ally

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  33. Google Voice seldom works on my Ally either--only plays sound when not actively streaming--once downloaded, it's silent. Horrible job, Google. Horrible.

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  34. add subscription fails saying uknown error occurred while trying to add http://feeds.americanpublicmedia.org/APM_Marketplace

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  35. OneCast is easier to use and it has more shows. Its in the market here: market://details?id=com.vertile.onecast

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  36. Or HTTP://onecast.vertile.com

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  37. How can I delete individual podcasts?

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