… that’s separate and apart from the whole Google Podcast architecture that just recently rolled out. The project is apparently called “Shortwave,” and the associated trademark filing describes “software that allows users to search, access, and play digital audio files, and to share links to audio files.” Which, you know, is broad.
The Verge has some tasty follow-up deets:
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.”
So, here’s the thing about this story: it’s easy to play up the fact that Area 120, Google’s in-house incubator within which Shortwaves is housed, tends to position itself as experimental or in the direction of being “out there.” Except, its pursuits aren’t actually too far out there — not really. Other projects include: virtual reality advertising formats, an app that’s meant to help New York City commuters navigate the increasingly poor quality of the subway system as it crumbles into oblivion, and something called Supersonic Fun Voice Messenger that apparently brings together voice messages and emojis, which are all app ideas that far more realistic than the so-called moonshots developed in Google X, the tech giant’s super secret R&D lab. And it’s also worth noting that some of these startups have actually released products into the wilds of public app stores.
Which is all to say: I’d err on the side of taking this one seriously… even if the actual substance of the app, based on what we can discern from the trademark filing, doesn’t feel particularly revolutionary or experimental.