Google Listen review

Reviews Damien McFerran 15:32, 25 Aug 2009

We review Google Listen, a multimedia organiser for podcasts and audio content

Although the Android mobile platform is lagging behind Apple’s iPhone in terms of market share, it does have one massive advantage – it benefits from Google’s own software developments first.

Google Listen is one such development. It’s a product of Google Labs, an experimental software community aimed at creating exciting new features for Google’s many online presences – and that includes the Android platform.

It’s essentially a way of searching and organising pod casts and other online audio content. Using the simple and intuitive interface you can look for your favourite shows (or track down new ones) via your Android handset.

Once you’ve found something worth listening to, you can either choose to stream it immediately or add it to your listening queue for consumption later on (the programme is stored on your phone’s internal memory).

If you come across a show that you find particularly compelling you can subscribe to it so that future episodes are flagged up as soon as they become available. If inspiration isn’t forthcoming then you can simply look at the most popular searches being made right now; the beauty of Google Listen is that it’s constantly updating.

As you search through the different audio sources you’ll start to build up a substantial listening queue. Once you’re happy with what you’ve chosen, you can simply fire up the application and it will play through each of the pod casts in your queue.

It will even remove previously listened-to programmes from the queue so you don’t sit through them twice.

However, you don’t have to be that hands-on with your selections if you don’t wish to be. If your queue is left empty Google Listen will simply start playing selections from your various subscriptions.

Keeping on top of your pod casts is difficult at the best of times so Google Listen will come as something of a Godsend to those of you that take this kind of audio enlightenment seriously. There’s still work to be done, but this is a fact that the developers behind Google Listen freely admit.

At present managing the content stored on your SD card (which gets full pretty quickly when using this application) is difficult and the fact that Google Listen only searches English-language content arguably limits its global appeal.

However, these points have been acknowledged by the people behind this ingenious piece of software and you can bet they’re already working towards ironing out these and other issues.

Besides, such nit-picking seems irrelevant when faced with the sheer brilliance of Google Listen; even in its fledgling state (this is version 1.0.0, let’s not forget) it represents an essential download.

Google Listen info

Ease of use:

Platform: Google Android

Version: 1.0.0

Price: Free

Developer: Google

Website/Demo: Google Listen website

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