Chrome OS includes a basic audio player, yet other options offer many more features to Chromebook podcast listeners.
Podcast player options on mobile devices are fairly obvious. Many people use the podcast player native to their device, which means either the Apple Podcasts app on iOS or the Google Podcasts app on Android. When you have an internet connection, you may choose to stream a podcast audio session or download a file for listening later offline.
On most Chromebooks, there's no podcast app pre-installed, although there is a basic audio player app. Unfortunately, not every podcast player option will work on every Chrome OS device. For example, older Chromebooks don't support Android apps. Additionally, if you use a device provided by your work or school, an administrator might restrict access to some sites, extensions, or apps. In most cases, though, one or more of the following approaches will let you listen to podcasts on a Chromebook.
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Basic built-in audio player
With Google Drive open in Chrome on a Chromebook, double-click on an MP3 file to open and play it with a built-in audio app. This player is quite basic and offers only two simple sliders: One for volume and one for playback position.
If you navigate to an MP3 file using the Chrome OS Files app, then double-click on it, you'll gain access to a few more playback options (Figure A). As you navigate Google Drive, select a file, then move the slider at the top to Available Offline. This will ensure you can playback and listen to files without an internet connection.
Google Podcasts online
Go to the Google Podcasts page to access the web-based version. From this site, you may access and play podcasts as long as your device remains connected to the internet (Figure B). You may adjust the playback speed from as slow as .5x speed to as fast as 3x speed, as well as tap 10-second replay or 30-second forward button options. If your account has Web & App Activity history tracking turned on, your podcast subscriptions and playback status will sync across systems.
podStation Podcast Player
The podStation Podcast Player is a Chrome extension that provides a browser-based way to search for and play podcasts, as well as the ability to subscribe to podcasts with a single-click on the extension from sites that support it. As with the Google Podcasts app, you may adjust playback speed. A download arrow saves each podcast episode to your default download folder (Figure C). Use the Chrome OS Files app, as mentioned in the first option above, to select and mark files available for offline use with the Chrome OS built-in audio player.
If your Chromebook supports Android apps, install the free and open source AntennaPod app for a privacy-respecting podcast player experience (Figure D). AntennaPod includes full-featured podcast search, subscription and playback options, along with support for downloads and offline playback of podcasts.
Pocket Casts offers versions that work on Android and iOS, with a paid version, Pocket Casts Plus, available for the web, macOS, and Windows for just under $10 per year. Not only does Pocket Casts support variable playback speeds, it also includes selectable options to trim silence (mild, medium, or mad max), as well as support for downloads (Figure E).
What's your experience?
Do you listen to podcasts on a Chromebook? If so, what podcast player do you use? If you use a podcast app on a Chromebook that supports offline access, how well does it work? Let me know what podcast player you prefer on your Chromebook--either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).
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