It’s impossible to miss them: Podcasts are more popular than ever. They’re a great communication tool, a smart way to grow your audience, and now you can embed them directly on your site. This month, we also made some improvements to Jetpack Search, AMP, and some other blocks.
Introducing the podcast player block
Whether you’re sharing your favorite podcast or promoting your own, the new podcast player block allows your site visitors to browse and play episodes directly on your site. This block comes with a number of customization options and it’s been optimized for accessibility.
After a big launch last month, we’ve made a few improvements and fixed some bugs:
- Added a custom filter so you can exclude content from search results
- Fixed a bug to improve performance of search in 28 non-English languages
- Increased the maximum number of comments we index per post from 100 to 200 to improve search results. 99.98% of all posts will now have all comments indexed, making 99.55% of all sites fully indexed.
- Improved the onboarding flow and our initial configuration to make launching Search even easier
We’re also continuously improving our other blocks.
- We added more options to the Revue block. You can now customize the look of the subscription fields to fit your needs.
- We fixed layout issues with the Slideshow, OpenTable, and email subscription blocks.
AMP remains one of our areas of focus, as it can be a great tool to improve our site’s performance on mobile devices. In this release, we’ve made more of our widgets and embed tools fully compatible with the AMP plugin.
A big thank you to everyone who contributed to this release:
Aaron Robertshaw, Addison Stavlo, Ajay Kumar Jain, Andy Peatling, Anna Magdalena Kedzierska, Bart Kalisz, Ben Dwyer, Biser Perchinkov, Brandon Kraft, Cameron Voell, Christopher Finke, Dan Roundhill, Derek Smart, Echo Gregor, Elio Rivero, Enej Bajgoric, Filipe Varela, Glen Davies, Greg Ichneumon Brown, Igor Zinovyev, Jacopo Tomasone, Jaroslav Polakovič, Jason Moon, Jeremy Herve, Jerry Jones, Jon Desrosiers, Julian Vidal, Kim Brown, kitchin, Konstantin Obenland, Leo Germani, Matt Geri, Matthew Denton, Michael P. Pfeiffer, Miguel Lezama, Niranjan Uma Shankar, Noah Allen, Omkar Bhagat, Rastislav Lamos, Robert Franklin, Rua Haszard, Ryan Kienstra, Sergey Mitroshin, Sérgio Gomes, Yaroslav Kukharuk.
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When will Jetpack swallow WordPress? These may all be useful features but couldn’t they be built into the core? JP is growing at a steady rate as a plugin, probably more than any other plugin. This much reliance on Jetpack is a bit concerning.
Jetpack will not swallow WordPress, no worries there! 🙂
When developing new features, we always ask ourselves whether the feature may be a good fit for WordPress Core itself, and if it technically could be implemented in WordPress. If the answer to both of those questions is yes, we reach out to the core WordPress team and try to gauge interest for the feature. In this specific use-case (podcasts), this is not something that appears to be on WordPress Core’s roadmap right now.
That doesn’t mean that it can’t become a core WordPress block in the future though.
In the past, there have been quite a few Jetpack features that didn’t seem like good candidates for WordPress right away, but that became parts of WordPress later on. Think of the CSS editor in your customizer, Site Logo, or the Gallery Widget for example; all those WordPress features started off as Jetpack features, and were eventually added to WordPress itself. Who knows, the same thing may happen with some of Jetpack’s blocks!
Until then, you can rest assured that we’ll keep maintaining the Jetpack features you use and like. We’ve been around for 9 years, and we’re not going anywhere 🙂
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That is good to hear, Jeremy. My concern is two-fold. First, using any of the features of Jetpack a few times forces us to continue using it, forever. Second, Jetpack itself may be getting too heavy. I wish Jetpack could be fragmented based on groups of functions allowing us to bring the modules we want. I am not sure if selecting the features off and on is the same as removing those functions altogether. In any case, thanks for providing it for us to use.
You can rest assured; if a block or a feature makes its way into WordPress Core, we’ll ensure a proper migration so you won’t be stuck with Jetpack because that’s where a feature debuted. That’s how we’ve done things with other features that have been integrated into WordPress Core, and we’ll keep doing just that.
We’ve kept that in mind since we first started working on blocks in the Jetpack plugin. A block will not load any resources on your site if you do not use it. Jetpack blocks you don’t use won’t slow your site down.
The same holds true for other Jetpack features; if you deactivate a Jetpack feature using the toggles in the Jetpack dashboard, it will not be loaded on your site at all.
In addition to this, WordPress’ block editor comes with a “Block Manager” interface that you can access from the editor options. It allows you to uncheck any blocks you are not interested in, and those blocks will not be loaded in the block picker. I would encourage you to use that as the plugins you use and like start adding more and more blocks to the editor.
I hope this helps!
All good to know, thank you all.
Hello, I have just used this plugin for the first time. I was having issues simply adding my Anchor URL to my blog post. I wanted to create a blog post on each of my episodes or groups of episodes and wanted to embed each specific episode in to each specific post. When I pasted the URL or used the Embed option in the classic editor the iFrame would show in draft and then not in preview or publish. When I used block editor it said there was an error. In searching for help I came across Jetpack and I learned I have this included in my plan. So I used block editor to add my podcast. However when I copy the URL link from Episode 1 it shares the most recent episode and a list of 5 previous episodes (I have seen I can edit this number). It does that no matter what episode link I use. Is there no way to link directly to one specific episode?
That’s not an option yet. You can use the block to display a specific number of the latest episodes of your podcast, but you cannot embed a specific episode.
That’s something we may implement in a new block in the future though! Keep an eye on this space, we’ll post here when we iterate on the block.
Is there any more info about what the custom filter is to be able to exclude content from the search results?
Sure thing! You can check our support documentation to find out more about the different customization options you have. In this specific case, you’ll be interested in the
On Twenty Seventeen, the play button is invisible on the new podcast player block. I have it on two of my sites, both running Twenty Seventeen with no customizations. I can see where it is supposed to be, as there are little marks at the corners where the graphic should appear.
If buttons in Podcast Player Block are not clear enough on your theme, you can use edit their color settings.
I followed the link to your site, found your podcast site, and I believe I know what the problem is. Unfortunately, playing with the block’s color settings won’t help here. You helped uncover a bug that we’ll need to fix in the next version of Jetpack. Thank you!
Until then, you can fix the issue by going to Jetpack > Settings > Performance in your dashboard, and disabling the “Speed up static file load times” option. That should fix it for now, and you can re-enable that option after the next Jetpack release.
Sorry for the trouble, and thanks again for letting us know!
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compatible with 3rd party amp plugins?
Hi there –
I’ve tested with the official AMP plugin and the podcast player does not display, but the list of podcast episodes – with working links – does. I’m not sure about other AMP plugins but I’d expect similar behaviour.
This is amazing!