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Pluggd Promises Podcast Concept Searching, But We Still Need Better Basic Keyword Searching

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Pluggd to make podcasts chunkier, searchable at TechCrunch covers how podcast search service Pluggd plans to make it possible to search podcasts by concept, rather than keyword. That sounds cool, but there's still some ways to go before I'm full of excitement.

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The screenshot above shows how I searched for "golf," then the sections of the podcast related to golf was highlighted so that I could scroll over and listen in the right place.

Some issues with the Pluggd service:

  • Right now, you can do it for only one single podcast here. Hundreds of thousands are promised to be analyzed down the line.
     
  • When typical searches tend to be only a few words, you don't need a ton of conceptual searching. In other words, in the test file, I searched for golf. The "heat map" display above did a nice job of showing me where in the file that word plus words related to golf were being discussed. Very, very nice. But if you've found the references to the single word golf, it's pretty likely you've hit the conceptually related terms, as well. Then again, "golfing" should be conceptually related to "golf," yet that failed to bring up any matches when I changed to that term.
     
  • No transcripts are shown. One of the main reasons I find people want to search podcasts by keywords is so they can read what they don't have time to listen to. Finding the key sections is nice, but the service as of yet doesn't allow you to read what was said.

Actually transcripts may come down the line, perhaps. At the moment, Podzinger and Podscope are the leading choices, if you want transcripts now. To date, I haven't been that impressed by them.

Here's an example of this in action at Podzinger. I did a search for google belgium, and you can see how mentions of those words in various podcasts get highlighted. Scroll down, and you'll see a series called "Podemus" which seems to be rebroadcasting my Daily SearchCast podcast from September 19. You'll see a summary like this:

cool there with you mean you know as a whole school belgium's scandal we're going to get into Now let the matter -- because that means that went on around me at all let's let's dive right into i think the big story that came out of the weekend was this whole thing where intelligent court has ordered google to remove Belgian newspapers from google news because Apparently these VA an organization that oversees copyright issues the newspapers had said the court that google would do all the weapons violations by shelling out articles and photographs the stuff like that -- The quickly court has ruled that google has two

Doesn't make much sense, does it? If it did, it would be nice to click through and see the entire transcript for the podcast. So far, that doesn't seem possible.

Over at Podscope, that same google belgium search came back with nothing. This is despite me knowing they must have at least one podcast mentioning both words. I can see this in a search just for google, where the Daily SearchCast as broadcast out of WebmasterRadio.fm says:

Danny and SEGuru storm into town on a sunny Friday and deliver the search news with reckless abandon: Google Loses Appeal On Posting Belgian Ruling; Google & Saturn Team Up On Video Ads, Google Earth Promotion; Google On How To Let Googlebot In, Keep Bad Bots Out and More!

That's not out of the spoken words of the show. It comes from the meta information. Still, I know the words are in there -- but they weren't found.

Overall, I like how Podzinger shows the actual words. I just wish the transcriptions actually seemed to word. Couple that with the nice heat maps that Pluggd is offering, and plenty of folks will like the combination. For now, it remains baby steps.


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