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BBC removes podcasts from Google Podcasts and Assistant

BBC has removed its podcasts from certain Google services

The BBC has removed its podcasts from voice device Google Assistant and the Google Podcast app, as the British broadcaster is "not comfortable" with how Google promotes third-party apps.

Last year, Google launched a podcast app for Android. Kieran Clifton, director of BBC distribution and business development, wrote in a blog post yesterday (26 March) that Google has since "begun to direct people who search for a BBC podcast into its own podcast service" rather than toward other third-party apps like BBC Sounds, thus reducing consumers' choice.

"[It's] an approach that the BBC is not comfortable with and has consistently expressed strong concerns about. We asked them (Google) to exclude the BBC from this specific feature but they have refused," said Clifton.

Clifton added that the BBC doesn't take removing its podcasts lightly, but it will keep its podcasts off of these Google products until the tech giant "changes the way they look" at the issue of supposed competitive unfairness.

Both Clifton and a Google spokesperson said the two companies are in discussions to resolve the issue.

A Google spokesperson said the company doesn't allow podcast publishers to remove content from some Google devices and not others.

"Having content available unpredictably on different surfaces would lead to an unreliable user experience. However, we take our partners’ feedback seriously, and we’re looking at how we can balance it with product experience predictability," said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson added that Google is working to provide publishers with detailed audio analytics across its products in the future.

Google does not serve ads in Google Podcasts. It serves a publisher's mp3 file, which can contain ads run within a podcast.

Google is also planning to launch a browser version of its podcast app.

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