XAPP is Bringing Podcasts to Google Home and Assistant

A new Google Assistant feature was announced Friday called Media Response API. XAPP has been working with a beta version of the Media Response API for several months during a developer review period. We are happy to say that three XAPP podcast customers are officially live on Google Assistant and Google Home today using the new capabilities.

  • Kirk & Callahan Show, broadcast on Boston’s WEEI and hosted by Kirk Minihane and Gerry Callahan. It’s about all things sports with a focus on New England.
  • Sword & Scale which offers true crime podcast with over 100 episodes.
  • Blue Gold Report from Federated Media is a weekly podcast with Todd Burlage and Mike Ragz that discusses all things Notre Dame sports.

How Media Response API for Google Assistant is Different

xapp-podcast-google-assistantThe new Media Response API, enables you to leverage your existing differentiators such as name recognition and topical content to make your podcast more easily discoverable and more interactive on Google Assistant. With Google’s deep link discovery, your audio content is now just a spoken phrase away. If you cover certain types of content, we can create deep links in the Assistant app that act like search engine optimization (SEO) for spoken questions by users. When Google Home users ask for that topic, your podcast can be surfaced proactively as a suggestion by Google Assistant. This has the potential to introduce new listeners to your content.

In addition, your listeners don’t need to remember the exact invocation name (i.e. Assistant app name). Near matches to your name are more likely than ever to get them efficiently to your podcast content. This is particularly important for podcasts that are often referred to by nicknames or shortened versions of the full podcast title.

Also, during playback, listeners are still within the context of the voice app while playing audio. That enables listeners to navigate within your voice app without using the invocation name. For example, “Hey Google, play the latest episode” instead of “Hey Google, ask Sword & Scale to play the latest episode.” This allows listeners to quickly navigate to different content and even respond to prompts within the audio itself.

Many podcasters are accustomed to other platforms that take listeners out-of-session to play the content. Think of it as a hand-off to the media player from the voice app. In that model, any additional content or requests to the voice app require it be invoked, or started again. Google Assistant’s new Media Response API runs the player from within the voice app. There is no hand-off to an external player. This means any additional interaction by the listener maintains full context of the user session. It is a technical difference that results in a more seamless user experience. We are pretty excited about it.

What Can We Expect for New Features

Google is not officially announcing any pending features beyond what was released last week. However, you can anticipate this is just the start of a new set of features for delivering media through Google Assistant. We look forward to working with our customers to bring additional immersive audio and multi-modal media experiences to Google Assistant in the coming months. The Media Response API is a big step-up for Google Assistant and we suspect it is just the beginning.

If you would like to learn more about the Media Response API, the work XAPP has already done and how your podcast or radio program can take advantage of it, please contact us by clicking the button below.

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