When Android launched with the G1, one of the things I desperately looked for was for a podcasting manager or some app that allows me to listen to podcasts.
There were a couple. Dogcatcher was one of the better ones and remains so. But you'd have to pay for it. I'm not saying it's not worth the price. But being new to the platform and already married to the iPhone platform, I'm leery about paying for apps on two platforms.
However, about a month ago, I discovered Listen by Google. What is Listen?
Listen is Google's podcast management app for the Android. According to Google's own words,
"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."
When you first launch the app, you see the standard search icon which allows you to search for podcasts. More on search later. You also see:
- My listen queue: allows you to queue podcasts for listen later from your subscriptions and searches
- My subscription: allows you to add your favorite podcasts from search or enter the URL feed manually.
- Popular searches: you can see what folks are searching in terms of podcasts and subjects. I find this feature pretty useless right now
- Recently played: self explanatory.
Now about search. It works for the most part but there was a couple of times when I looked for a specific podcast and was not able to find what I was looking for. Search for Listen works pretty much like what Google's search works. However, if you're looking for specific podcasts that is not its strong suit.
However, overall, this is one of the best apps for Android and as far as I'm concerned, it ought to be installed on all Android devices or similarly integrated into the music player.
For a beta-ish app, it is pretty polished and like other Google products, this will be in beta for a long time as Google implement new features and improve on existing ones. Listen is one of the apps that came from Google Labs where Googlings are allowed to be creative and let their hair down.