Wednesday, April 25, 2007


During our Podcasting and Videocasting Post Conference session at CIL, I had a couple of questions I wasn't really able to completely answer at the time about Podzinger. So I did a little research and hopefully this will cover it.

Podzinger is a audio/ video search and discovery tool that uses speech to text recognition to search the actual contents of online audio and video, not just metadata attached by creators. Each search result has a cool little player that takes you directly to instances of your search term(s) in podcast/ videocast episodes. Excellent tool for research and getting around the real time aspect of listening to podcasts.

The first question was how does Podzinger work/ store content? I couldn't find a direct answer to this question, as they probably don't want me to make my own Podzinger competitor. But in order to be included in Podzinger searches, podcasters have to register with the service. So I'm guessing they don't actually download and store audio and video, but use an algorythm to scan and index content housed elsewhere. Then pull and package the data just for you when you do a search. They do claim to get new content Zinged and available in around 8 hours, so pretty speedy.

The second question was can you search one specific podcast series? No and yes. There's not a function that I could find that allows you to directly search one particular podcast. But once you do a search, a drop down menu appears that allows you to find all the instances of your term(s) in each series displayed on a page of results. The content in the drop down changes as you navigate through results screens that have results from different podcast series.

(Sorry for the small screen shot! Medium messed up my pretty, pretty sidebar! Click it to see bigger version.)

Podcasters who register can also download a widget to place on their website or blog to allow listeners to Zing just their content. This could be quite handy for library podcasts, epecially those with instructional content.

Another cool feature I just noticed is RSS search alerts. Each search you perform generates an RSS feed and instructions for adding it to iTunes, Yahoo! Music Engine and standard RSS readers like Bloglines or Google Reader. So if I search for the term "library", I get a feed to have future content containing "library" automatically delivered. Again, great for research or current awareness on topics that are heavily featured in podcasts.

I hope this helps and let me know if there are other questions about Podzinger, podcasting, Belgian beer, or life in general.

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