While the Google Podcasts app debuted just recently in June with artificial intelligence (AI) based personalised recommendations, Google has now been spotted building a new app for discovering an d playing podcasts called Shortwave. A trademark filing of the app describes that the unannounced app is capable of allowing users to "search, access, and play digital audio files," as well as "share links to audio files." Considering the features of Google Podcasts, we can presume that the new app could also have some AI inputs to enhance the user experience. Moreover, the app could be designed to counter Apple's Podcasts app that comes preloaded on iOS devices.
As per the trademark filing, spotted by The Verge, Google is currently working on the Shortwave app, and its application reached the trademark office last month. The filing doesn't specify what kind of audio will be available through the app, however, it highlights the ability to share links to audio files. This is something that didn't arrive on the Google Podcasts app that is available for free download through Google Play.
A Google spokesperson, while confirming the development to The Verge, revealed that the app was being built with Google's Area 120 incubator that is aimed at experimenting new developments ahead of their final release. The spokesperson also highlighted that the app will help users discover and consume spoken-word content. "One of the many projects that we're working on within Area 120 is Shortwave, which helps users discover and consume spoken-word audio in new ways," the spokesperson said.
While it is uncertain whether Google will publicly launch the Shortwave app one day or completely ditch as many of its other experimental projects. However, considering the lack of social integration within the Google Podcasts app that doesn't allow users to comment to rate a show, we can safely say that there is enough space for the search giant to fit the new app with some key sharing features.
Despite the lack of social features, the Google Podcasts app excels on many avenues. The app, for instance, has Google Assistant integration and lets users search and subscribe to different podcasts. There is also a dedicated library of podcasts. Furthermore, users can download any episodes of a subscribed podcasts for offline playback.