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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Podzinger Audio Search

Podzinger is a new podcast search engine. Unfortunately it only really works in Internet Explorer, and was broken for me in Firefox.

The good thing about Podzinger, at least in Internet Explorer, is that you can see exactly at which part your keyword has been spoken. This is similar to Google Video (which shows relevant transcript parts as well as a screenshot) and the only reasonable approach if you want to research in many different audio files – because it would take too long to fully listen to each individual file. In Podzinger, you can either listen to the full podcast, or click on the time indicator to fast-forward to just the piece containing your keyword. This is very well done.

A problem, even on Internet Explorer, is that Podzinger’s speech-to-text technology doesn’t always return correct results (on average, it seems it makes errors in every spoken sentence). For example, the top result for a search on “Google” resulted in a sermon – Podzinger was thinking that the speaker said “Google”, but in reality he said “God” (OK, at least this bug has a sense of irony). In another audio file, “Google comments” is actually “Google Creative Commons search”.

Also, results sometimes include audio files that have actually been automatically converted from text via text-to-speech; it would be nice, as an option, to exclude those from the results. Plus, all site thumbnails were broken when I checked. Other than that Podzinger looks very promising, in fact – several technical issues aside – it has the best approach of a podcast search engine I’ve seen so far.

[Via Steve Rubel.]


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