Search Engines that Listen to Podcasts
A good round up on Wired of the new generation of audio search engines that listen to content instead of relying on accompanying keywords. On the basis of a quick bit of vanity searching, Podscope, has a great interface but it's "hit rate" on recognizing my British English wasn't great. Podzinger scored better on the hit rate and the mini-transcripts that attended search results are a really nice feature. However the transcription struggles with background noise vis the start of my Bull Run Rally Podcast which is transcribed as.
" You're listening to pocket planet radiant On The web at pocket planet radio dot com And It's something yeah Chinese Yeah Alexander roy became politicized Six times wrote a better place to tumble on winter's ..."
Blinkx fared much better on the hit rate through seemed to be relying on keywords. (perhaps I'm not using it correctly - please advise)
An Interesting net-Radio Prototype
A net radio designed specifically for playing podcasts made its debut this week. Here's the spec for the new Penguin Radio:
"The box connects to the net via Ethernet or modem (sorry, no wireless). It's got a small lcd screen that displays the station name and other information, and an up/down, forward/back button for navigating the hierarchical menu system and a volume and power knob........ The radio plays Mp3 radio stations and podcasts (no support for Real or Windows Media yet), delivered by a relatively standard .PLS file from our directory at PenguinRadio.com." - Betatester Newsletter
It's an interesting prototype. The lack of wifi is a drawback as is the lack of support for Real and Windows Media. Still it does show you how fast "convergence" between podcasts and traditional radio is happening. What I found more interesting was the content of the listings. I wonder if some of the stations featured will object in the same way some papers did to Google News at the outset. I suppose it depends on the branding, if any, of the .PLS streams. But I think most broadcasters are resigned to the advent of this kind of bespoke radio channel. After all, looked at one way it's merely automated dial twiddling.
Guardian Pod Picks Rick
As almost, sort-of, kind-of, predicted, the UK Guardian newspaper has indeed entered the podcasting business with a typically left-field splash. Ricky Gervais star of The Office will present a podcast hosted on their site.
Little Atoms: Semi-blog powered radio
Stumbled across a radio show on Resonance FM called Little Atoms. I'm not just drawn in by the superficial similarity of our websites, a co-incidence I'm sure, the content looks fun too with plenty of the top names in British blogging on the show.
UK Telegraph starts Podcast
Macworld UK reports that the Telegraph has launched a podcast. Funny I would have put money on the Guardian being first British broadsheet (well Berliner?) to this one given the size of their online presence. I hope they're a bit slower to the punch because they want to do more with the medium. Newspapers could, with relatively little effort it seems to me, output some interesting audio from "on-location". At present there's a bit too much reading print copy on all the newspaper podcasts. I also see the Telegraph's copyright scheme seems to be _for personal use only_ as though it were a "restricted substance". Surely if the principal benefit to a newspaper of a podcast is to encourage people to purchase the print edition a use with credit system would be more appropriate.
Pop-ups: An apology
I noticed that one of the Java based counters on this site was causing pop-ups to launch. I've removed it, and am more than a little angry at the group responsible. It seem like an terrible breach on net etiquette to inflict pop ups on a website without asking. Please drop me an email if the pop-ups reappear.
Life as an SF podcaster
Nice piece in the SF Bay Guardian on the San Francisco podcast scene.
Can Pod Ads Cut It?
Still, some basic conceptual questions about the medium remain unsettled. Podcasting is, obviously, downloaded audio. But it's not clear if listeners will ultimately regard podcasts the way they do downloaded songs, in which case an ad is unwelcome, or as a form of radio, in which case it's acceptable. This being the 21st century, it's hard to imagine that podcast advertising will be universally rejected. But some ad executives still express caution. "We are trying to test what the tolerance [for advertising] is going to be," says Eric Blankfein, a senior vice-president at New York-based media buyer Horizon Media. Podcasting "is something quote-unquote pure. How do you mess it up with branding?"
Read the whole thing as Glenn Reynolds would say. It raises some interesting and important questions. I should also make a correction based on JT's comments see below. There were indeed podcasing advertising systems around before the big media announcements (Audible, Curry et al) made at the expo.
Portable Media Expo podcast
As promised here's the podcast from the Portable Media Expo in Ontario California. It features full length interviews with some of the more techy types at the conference. The general theme is how podcasts are discovered and distributed to listeners, and the affect that will have on existing broadcasters. I should note there's some great coverage of what happened at the expo over at Citizen Spin (full disclosure we share an employer in common)