Vinod Kurup

Hospitalist/programmer in search of the meaning of life

Google Listen Doesn't Rock

In the years I’ve been listening to podcasts, I’ve only found 2 podcast clients that I’ve really liked: iTunes (back around 2005-2007) and a bash script that I wrote which simply copied files downloaded by podget onto my iPod nano. Google Listen on my Droid X (Android 2.2) is tolerable, but only barely. I think my requirements are simple. I want to put in URLs and have the client get all the podcasts in that URL and stick them in a queue. I want the client to refresh every N hours and add new files to the queue. I want the client to automatically download each file in the queue. Once I listen to a file, I want the client to delete it from my device. I’d like a configurable option to be able to save a file, while I’m listening to it, so if I am listening to something that I want to hear again, I hit a save button and it won’t automatically be deleted. If I don’t like an episode, I’d like to hit ‘next’ to have that podcast deleted and the next one started. Finally, I want some statistics about which podcasts I’m listening to, which ones I’m skipping, and then some suggestions about which podcasts I might like. A product from Google should be able to do this. Unfortunately, I can’t reliably tell which podcasts I’m subscribed to. There is a ‘subscribe’ button in each one, and when I click it, it changes to ‘unsubscribe’, but then when I back out and come back, it says ‘subscribe’ again, so I’m not sure if I am subscribed or unsubscribed. When I subscribe, the podcasts show up in Google Reader, and I don’t want them there. I understand the idea of reusing Google Reader since it is a RSS/Atom reader, but I never listen to podcasts on my computer. I don’t know what happens if I mark something as read in Google Reader. Does that mean it won’t show up in Listen? I haven’t figured it out. Each time I start Listen, it seems that a different podcast starts, rather than starting where I left off. Well, it’s inconsistent. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Skipping a podcast doesn’t delete it, although there is a config option for that. Maybe I’m just doing it wrong. Most annoyingly, it doesn’t automatically download all the podcasts, so when one finishes, I have to wait for the next one to start buffering and if I’m driving and I happen to be in a poor 3G service area, that might take a while. Maybe this should be my first Android project?