Why does Google Listen suck, and what are some better podcast apps?
September 2, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

I think that Google Listen, as far as a podcast app for Droid goes, is the suckiest bunch of suck that ever sucked. Is anyone else able to make it work for them? Or can you recommend a better podcast app for my Droid?

I don't know if this happens to anyone else with Google Listen, but even when I let a podcast buffer for a few minutes and load to about halfway, it will play for about 10 or 15 minutes before completely (and almost seamlessly) restarting from the beginning, so podcasts sound like this a few minutes in:

"...and what was interesting about the lizards is that while they slept, their brainwaves were - Hey everyone, this is Jad from Radiolab. On today's episode..."

Even worse is that when I try to fast forward back to where I left off, it...doesn't even fast forward, it just keeps restarting. Matter of fact, if I so much as mess with the play bar (slider thingy), it just restarts. Slide it to the middle, it starts from the beginning. After a few tries of restarting it and letting it re-buffer, I can finally listen to the episode all the way through, though 15 or 20 minutes after I originally intended to start listening. Worst part is, this always happens while I'm driving so I end up fidgeting with (and screaming at) my droid while I'm on the road and I'm pretty sure this is how I'm going to die.

I guess my questions are - does this happen to you if you use Google Listen, or am I doing something wrong? Also, any other podcast app recommendations? Google Listen appears to be the highest rated for some reason, and while I downloaded a fourstared app called Podkast, it does not appear to have the same capabilities as Listen as far as being able to find and subscribe to whatever I want as well as organize them into neat little rss feeds. Thanks all.
posted by windbox to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This does happen to me and I find it incredibly frustrating. What's more frustrating is that none of the alternatives I've tried have been good enough to make me switch. I have not yet tried the paid app doggCatcher.

One tip I can offer is that it seems to help if you pre-download the podcast. Adding it to the queue sometimes does this.
posted by callmejay at 8:06 AM on September 2, 2010

One more tip: I can sometimes fast forward to where I was by repeatedly clicking the button that jumps forward 30 seconds.
posted by callmejay at 8:12 AM on September 2, 2010

Sadly I can say that it isn't your Droid...I get this same (annoying) behavior on a Nexus One with Google Listen.
posted by mmascolino at 8:16 AM on September 2, 2010

You'll also see that people are posting these issues in the Google Listen Google Group... whether or not the issues will ever be addressed is another question.
posted by mmascolino at 8:19 AM on September 2, 2010

I don't have your problem, but then again, I let the episodes download completely (I have it set to download automatically when it is connected to a Wi-Fi network).
posted by thewalledcity at 8:20 AM on September 2, 2010

I'm very happy with BeyondPod. It has a built-in search engine for finding new feeds (it seems to search the whole net rather than a curated directory), allows for sorting all of your feeds into folders and has a good set of options with sensible defaults. It can sync individual feeds with Google Reader subscriptions, if you want it to.

I've only tried streaming a couple of times (I have it set to download all the new episodes that it can find whenever I'm connected to WIFI, so I don't need to stream), but from what I remember it just sat in silence until the buffer filled up again and it could continue.

Not free, but it has a free 1 or two week trial period. Far, far better than Google Listen in my opinion.
posted by metaBugs at 8:23 AM on September 2, 2010

Totally agree with your assessment of Google Listen. I had Car Cast recommended to me the other day, but I haven't used it.
posted by Xalf at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2010

I use MyPod (which is paid but if you have 5 or less feeds it's free) and it works pretty good (HTC Hero)
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:30 AM on September 2, 2010

Huh. I've got a Nexus One and I use Listen (on Cyanogenmod 6) and while it's not super awesome, I haven't run into any of the problems described here.
posted by the dief at 8:50 AM on September 2, 2010

DoggCatcher costs a few bucks, but it is a fantastic podcast app. It's very stable and nice a good feature set.
posted by exogenous at 9:03 AM on September 2, 2010

does this happen to you if you use Google Listen, or am I doing something wrong?

Well, you're doing something more right than I am because I haven't successfully gotten Listen to play anything in the last few months.
posted by malthas at 9:11 AM on September 2, 2010

I've experienced similar issues with Google Listen on my Droid. My workaround for longer podcasts has been to download the MP3 file separately and listen to it with the MP3 player app. This would be horribly frustrating to do for every podcast, but a minute or two or downloading on the desktop computer and drag-and-drop to the Droid avoids a lot of frustrations itself.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 9:15 AM on September 2, 2010

another vote for DoggCatcher. it's worth the money. it's been a long time since I've run into any bugs, but when I have, the developer has been very responsive and gets a fix out quickly.
posted by jrishel at 9:46 AM on September 2, 2010

another vote for DoggCatcher.
posted by tom_g at 9:57 AM on September 2, 2010

I'm using DoggCatcher as well. It's a bit expensive, but definitely worth it if you're a hardcore podcaster.

One thing I found about Google Listen that I hated was that it added my subscriptions to my Google Reader account, which I found incredibly annoying.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:37 PM on September 2, 2010

Listen has improved a lot in the last 6 months, but yes - I do get that problem.
Just download it first, then listen. Personally I set it to just download everything without my intervention, then I never have to stream.
posted by dickasso at 2:00 PM on September 2, 2010

I turn on the wifi before going to sleep on my Galaxy S, and Google Listen gets the complete MP3s, so I'm not running into the problems you have.

On the other hand, I don't find Listen to be all that polished.

I gave DoggCatcher a try, but it seemed to peg the CPU for whatever reason, the first few times I used it.

I'm waiting for Froyo to see what happens. Maybe, it'll support AVRCP by then.
posted by chengjih at 3:23 PM on September 2, 2010

Nothing new to suggest. But, I'm having a problem with Listen now where it just won't download. I can stream, with all the problems therein, but it just won't download. Thanks for this thread...I'm going to give DoggCatcher and BeyondPod a try.
posted by TsuKata at 6:31 PM on September 29, 2010

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