The BBC has removed its podcasts from the Google Podcasts application and is also making them inaccessible to the Google Assistant, and by extension, to Google Home speakers. The station published a blog post that opposed Google's tendency to guide users looking for a podcast to their own application "instead of BBC Sounds or other third-party services." (The BBC Sounds application is not available outside of the UK.)  Kieran Clifton, the director of business distribution and development for the BBC, said the utility is "not comfortable" with Google reducing the choosing a listener in this way and has expressed those concerns directly to Google. "We asked them to exclude the BBC from this specific role, but they refused," Clifton said. "We do not like to remove our content from services and we certainly do not do it lightly, but unfortunately, until Google changes the way they see it, for the sake of the listeners, our podcasts will not be available in some of their services. . "
Clifton states that the BBC wants its programs to be easily accessible on all platforms worldwide. But it really sounds like the disagreement here is about the data of the listeners. Clifton criticizes Google for making it difficult for the BBC to obtain audience data about its podcasts. He says that this prevents the BBC from personalizing its services and makes sure to identify "gaps in our commission to make sure we are doing something for all audiences." The metrics have been a point of discussion between podcast producers and the platforms that expose them.
This could also be seen as another example of podcast manufacturers that withdraw their content for the benefit of their own applications and services. Today, Spotify announced plans to buy Parcast, the third acquisition of the year focused on the podcast of the broadcast music company. Spotify aims to evolve its current podcast functions into something much more ambitious, and exclusive programs are part of that plan.
The BBC continues talks with Google to reach a resolution. Meanwhile, it is blocking both Google Podcasts and Assistant simply through a robots.txt file, something that Google respects, but that is not true for many third-party podcast applications.