Technology Pandora adds podcasts to its web player and desktop app
Popular podcast app Pocket Casts is now available for free
We're big fans of Pocket Casts here at Engadget. The podcast app is arguably the best option for listening to the regular episodic content, keeping them all organized and easily finding what you're looking for. Until now, you had to pay a one-time fee of $3.99 to get Pocket Casts on Android or iOS, but that is changing. Starting today, the mobile app will be free, and its premium features will still be available. The company says the change makes the software "more closely aligned with the open-access model of its public media ownership.
Last year,introduced a library of podcasts which has grown from hundreds of shows to thousands. While the service offered many of the most popular series, the sticking point was that support was limited to the company's mobile apps. To make it easier for listeners to catch up with their favorite podcasts, Pandora has added the episodic content to its desktop app and web player, which is available to both free and paid users.
Podcasts have been booming over the last few years -- Stitcher, Apple, Spotify and plenty of others have been building out their services while Pandora seemed to struggle. The company hopes to differentiate itself with the Podcast Genome Project, which uses a mix of algorithms and manual curation to suggest both shows and individual episodes to listen to. Pandora also offersfrom SiriusXM hosts like Kevin Hart and Hoda Kotb, and upcoming scripted series based on Marvel superheroes.
With Pandora having played second fiddle to Spotify for years now, the company may need more impressive features to attract users and retain existing ones. That said, selection and convenience are two of the more important elements for streaming services to cover, and Pandora seems to be putting more effort into both those fronts.
Google Podcasts gets a much-needed personalized recommendations tab .
The Google Podcasts app just got a recommendations tab. The new feature will suggest individual episodes, rather than full shows. That could make it easier to discover content if you don't know where to start, and it may help track people you like across different shows. As an added perk, you won't need to subscribe to the show to listen to the episode. The app is a year-and-a-half old, and as we've said before, it's pretty but basic. It isThe app is a year-and-a-half old, and as we've said before, it's pretty but basic. It is slowly improving -- it added Cast support and made it possible to search for individual episodes. But progress has been very slow.
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