podzinger – searching audio and video

14 05 2006

in another affirmation that audio and video are overtaking the written word for communication comes podzinger. a search engine that searches through audio and video podcasts for your typed in (yes, written text isn’t dead quite yet) search queries.

to test it out i  tried to come up with something that is newsworthy but maybe a little bit obscure.   I came up with the cleveland cavaliers.   most people wouldn’t think of the  my cavs (i grew up  45 minutes west of cleveland ), but they are in the the nba playoffs – which is in the news.

well, in a matter of 0.83 seconds, podzinger found  240 snippets of video and audio which contain "cleveland cavaliers."   i’m impressed.  i haven’t explored their sight to see if they detail out how the technology parses things, but the snippets are amazing for how close to the query term they start (ie, you don’t have to wait forever to hear "cleveland cavaliers" in the snippet).  but it seems that the search is also intelligent enough to start and stop at comfortable moments.  in the several dozen snippets i listened to or watched, i never felt like it started or stopped in mid-sentence or other awkward points of the dialogue.  But you aren’t dependent on podzinger’s choice of where to cut out snippets.  you can click on any of the text presented and the snippet will cue to that point in the video or audio.

the podzinger interface is very familiar not straying from the general format of google, yahoo-esque search results.  results are listed by source if there are more than one result per source.  you can sort either by date or relevance to your search string.   your search terms are highlighted in the transcript.  the player is simple to use and allows you to download the file, get the rss feed or subscribe to the channel in either itunes or yahoo!

(click on the image to the right to see the full size image.)

a few negatives that I can see.  the transcript does a good job, but isn’t 100% accurate.  it had a heck of a time with cavaliers’ star lebron james’ first name.   ‘brawn’ and ‘the brand’ where the common best guesses.  One of the funnier was "may be a sign a medal" instead of "may be a sentimental."  the other negative i’d point to is that i i’d prefer to have one universal player for all for the snippets, instead of an individual player for each source.

overall, podzinger is a great step forward in the advancement of video literacy.

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