Now that RTO is in full flow I’ve been getting the bus to work a lot more. I get travel sick if I read, so I’ve been listening to podcasts on the hour-long trips to and from the office. Then I noticed something interesting about the app I was using.
I have gotten into Behind the Bastards recently, listening to it on YouTube while I work. Since it was a podcast, I decided to start listening to it on the bus while I rode to work. Of course, I needed an app for that, and as I was using an Android phone I picked Google Podcasts.
It made my long rides to work easier to deal with, but I noticed something straight away. I usually browse with an ad blocker, but on the app the ads weren’t blocked. I didn’t really mind at first – content creators deserve to be compensated. But after the 20th time of hearing the same 30 second clips over and over, it started getting annoying.
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to skip these adverts using the app. But then I noticed something.
I didn’t pick up on it until after a couple of times missing some of the banter after an advertisement. But, you can skip forward 30 seconds, but only skip backwards 10 seconds. Why is this?
I tried to find the actual reason they do it this way by searching online. Apparently it’s pretty common for a lot of apps to do this. And a lot of blog posts complained about it. I didn’t understand what they were complaining about. Had they missed the point? Or was I the only one to see how useful this is?
This interface is a great way to skip adverts. Skipping forwards 30 seconds means it’s easier to get past them, and skipping back you can get to the part of the podcast you missed without listening to the full advertisement.
I don’t think that this is why the interface is designed this way. Given that Google essentially makes money through advertisements on these platforms, it seems counter-intuitive to make it easier to skip them. But this interface does just that.
Google Podcasts is going away this year, being replaced by YouTube Music. It’ll be interesting to see if they keep this ad-skipping feature, but I’m probably going to switch to a different app for my podcasts next year.