Podcasting and Audio Search at SDForum SearchSig September 2005

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Discussion and demos on podcasting and audio search last night at the inaugural SDForum Search SIG meeting.

I want to like podcasting, but to date, I haven’t really gotten into it, either as a listener or as a producer. In theory, I should be all over this, since it combines some of my favorite topics: media technology (mostly audio, but eventually video), internet publishing and distribution, and search (which seems to be under everything on the internet). In practice, I haven’t found a good fit in my daily routine yet, partly because I don’t have a long drive to work. I sometimes listen to music while I’m working, but often need to be on the phone. I’m sort of interested in some of the conversational programming, such as those on IT Conversations, but I can read similar content in a fraction of the time required to listen to a podcast segment, and I find that I can’t listen to them while I’m working as I either get distracted from my work or totally tune out the content. I tend not to use the iPod much either, for some of the same reasons.

All that aside, the demos of Loomia, Odeo, and Audioblog showed how rapidly the tools and services for creating and distributing podcasts and personal media are improving. They all provide directories and search services for finding podcasts, and are moving toward providing tools and hosting services for individuals to create and publish their own audio podcasts.

David Marks showed Loomia, which provides an extensive, personalizable directory of podcast feeds. The site features an inlined Flash audio player, so you can play the feeds directly in the browser page, which I’m trying out while I’m writing this. He also mentioned that their site makes use of the Dojo open source library for implementing AJAX features.

Photo by Niall Kennedy

Ev Williams showed the Odeo Studio application, which isn’t yet available on their web site. It puts a simple audio production app in the web page, allowing you to record with a computer microphone and mix in audio such as theme music, applause, and sound effects. Looks like fun, and removes another barrier for potential podcast creators who might not have the inclination to go find and learn to use an audio editor.

Eric Rice showed Audioblog‘s video clip publishing service, along with how to “dial in” and create a podcast by leaving a voice message. Although their site is called “Audioblog”, they are developing a lot of similar video capabilities. Their site will also transcode video from a variety of formats, including 3GP; this allows them to accept video uploads from mobile phones. They will host the media data, and it sounded like they were looking into handling media rights clearances with ASCAP and other artists agencies on behalf of their publishers sometime in the future.

The opening panel discussion, moderated by Doug Kaye, should turn up on IT Conversations in a while, I’ll try checking it out later.

As a bonus, I also met Munjal Shah and Tara Hunt in person afterwards. I’m looking forward to trying the Ojos image search alpha when they get it cooked enough.

Update 09-15-2005 20:01 PDT: added a photo of Odeo Studio from Niall Kennedy, plus a followup on iTunes and video podcasting

Update 10-20-2005 21:26 PDT: Links to the audio at IT Conversations are posted at Yahoo Search Blog

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