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Google is developing an experimental podcast app called Shortwave

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

An experimental unit within Google has been quietly developing a new app for discovering and playing podcasts. Called Shortwave, the new app was revealed by a trademark filing embedded below, which describes it as “allow[ing] users to search, access, and play digital audio files, and to share links to audio files.”

Nothing in the trademark filing specifies the kind of audio being accessed, but a Google representative said the focus of the app was on spoken word content. There is little public information about the app, although Google has played with smart captioning, translation, and other AI-assisted features in previous podcast products.

Google’s trademark filing for Shortwave.

Reached by The Verge, a Google spokesperson emphasized the app was being developed within the company’s Area 120 incubator, and is unrelated to any existing Google products. “One of the many projects that we’re working on within Area 120 is Shortwave, which helps users discover and consume spoken-word audio in new ways,” the spokesperson said. “Like other projects within Area 120, it’s a very early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.”

Google launched its current Android podcasts app in June, nearly a month before the trademark was filed, including cross-device syncing and a deep integration with Google Assistant. It’s unclear how Shortwave would differ from that app, although it’s likely the two were developed in isolation.