Two new search engines offer to do for podcasting what Technorati does for blogs by letting users search podcasts by keyword to single out audio that suits their interests.
Podzinger and blinkx scour audio content for keywords by translating the audio into text and creating an index for quick searching. It’s a significant step above traditional search engines that identify only keywords in a podcast’s metadata, such as the headline and introductory notes describing the audio file’s general content.
Podzinger, in beta until mid-December, lets users jump to the spot in a podcast where their search term appears, rather than forcing them to scan an entire program for pertinent parts as blinkx does. Its minimalist design has an uncluttered search page, à la Google. And Podcasters can link to a searchable index of their content in order to sell sponsored links to text in the index provided by Podzinger.
Both Podzinger and blinkx include information about the source of the podcast and excerpts of text translated from the podcast with the relevant search terms highlighted. But Podzinger’s information is more extensive and the results include a counter indicating where in the podcast the snippet is located. And Podzinger allows users to click on the Play button to hear the excerpt and determine its relevancy before clicking on a link to download the entire podcast.
With the explosion of podcasts, users need a way to find the one of relevance. These podcast search engines are first attempts to bring some order to the chaos of finding a needle in a haystack. If this takes off, how long do you think it will be until we see Google Podcast Search?