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

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.


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
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

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

Over at Podscope, that same
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 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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