Whoops, I blinked: Google does Podcasts well now
Last week Google started rolling out a feature designed to incorporate podcasts into the Assistant ecosystem on Android. Podcast support is now engrained in Assistant and Google Search (on Android,) and you can subscribe, play, and listen on Android and then (somehow,) pick up on Google Home if you want.
Go ahead and search for a podcast using Google Search on Android. Should be noted if you’re not on Android this just doesn’t work yet so desktop people, wait a few weeks.
It should also be noted that it’s extremely limited in what it can do right now. There’s no ability to pre-cache or download, subscription option is fairly basic, notifications are all the same, but it’s a pretty good start.
Play controls are spread out. Skip forward and back are in the pull down menu, fast/slow play options require you to open the Podcasting “app” swipe up and expand the now playing pull-up.
Side note, I’m pretty sure this is one of Android Instant Apps being pushed at you, so you’ll most likely need a full and running set of updated Play Services. May not have rolled to the AOSP and older.
Pacific Content (link below) has a very detailed 5-part series (of which four parts are up currently,) about Google’s strategy to bring Android users to a previously Apple-dominated industry.