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Audio Search for Podcasts

September 26, 2006

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Forget the blather. With a new audio search technology, users could jump right to the area of interest in podcasts, and soon also in videos.

Pluggd Inc. showed off its HearHere search software Tuesday at DEMOfall 2006, an elite tech show of emerging technologies.

``It could well become the Google of audio Web,″ DEMO executive producer Chris Shipley said.

By using speech recognition and semantic analysis within its media player, HearHere allows users to skip commercials in the beginning of a podcast if they want, or bypass the baseball highlights to jump right to the football segment in a sports report.

Users just have to type in a keyword in the search box, and HearHere would display a map to indicate where in the podcast the content would likely match a request. It also displays the related words HearHere is using to make its matching decision.

For instance, if you type ``PGA″ in a search of ESPN podcasts, HearHere might indicate that it’s using ``golf″ or ``Tiger Woods″ to find what you’re looking for.

The public test version of HearHere now conducts searches within its own collection of podcasts at www.pluggd.com, and will offer the feature for Internet videos by the end of the year. The company plans to implement the technology for multimedia content found across the Internet next year.

Pluggd will not be alone, as several podcast search engines have sprung up in the past year or so to serve the booming popularity of Internet multimedia. Some already employ speech-to-text technology to generate searchable transcripts of podcasts and let users jump directly to certain points in a broadcast.

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