Google Listen, while not the most popular app, still has quite a few users and over one million downloads. As such, when the app disappeared from the Google Play Store sometime earlier this week, it caused a bit of a stir. Sensibly, the app won’t disappear if you already have it installed, and users who have installed the app in the past can currently still access it through the previously downloaded apps list.
However, the removal of Listen from the Play Store without warning is certainly an odd choice. Listen has been pretty much abandoned by Google for quite a while now, and the design and features are very basic and more suited to Donut than Jelly Bean. Still, up until just a couple weeks ago, I was using Google Listen as my main podcast app. It may be basic, but the Google Reader sync and simplicity mad the app quite useful.
If I had to guess, I would say that the removal of Listen is an indicator of some changes to Google Music or the Google Play Store. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Google Music update adds podcast functionality sometime soon, and it is also possible that the Play Store will be updated to have a podcast directory. It is still a bit odd that Google removed Listen before adding the new features, but for now Listen users can still get the app, and wait for whatever new podcast features Google is likely planning.