Hear that? Google has just unveiled the latest addition to Google Labs, and it’s sure to crowd-pleaser for Android users. Dubbed Google Listen, the new project is an Android application that lets you quickly search through web audio content, which you can then directly download or stream to your phone. The app also acts as a podcast manager, allowing you to subscribe to audio feeds and download new content over the air.
Using the app is simple: you head to the search bar, then enter whatever it is you’re looking for, be it a specific podcast or a more general term like “tech”. Google will pull up the most relevant podcast and audio clips scattered across the web, which you can begin streaming immediately. If you’re interested in multiple matches you can build a queue, and Listen will automatically begin playing from your subscriptions once it reaches the end of the playlist. At this point the app is indexing “thousands” of content sources in English only, but Google intends to expand to other languages. The site’s FAQ also hints that it may index video in the future as well.
Here’s how Google describes Listen in the company’s blog post:
Listen quickly finds podcasts and web audio relevant to your searches, lets you stream over-the-air or download for later, and subscribe to fresh content from your favorite feeds and searches. In short, Listen helps organize the world of audio information and makes it easily accessible anytime, anywhere.
For now, Google Listen is only available on Android. This may be because the app is still early in development, but its omission from the iPhone may also stem from the issues Google has recently had getting its applications approved for the App Store — in the last few months, Apple has rejected a native application of Google Latitude, and also banned all Google Voice apps. Even without the recent controversy, Apple may well have smacked the app down for competing with iTunes’ podcasting functionality (other apps have been rejected for this in the past).