WORLD: Yahoo allows users to search for podcasts

The search engine keeps competition hot by offering free services to search for podcasts across the net

The Straits Times
Monday October 10, 2005

Hoping to tune into the latest craze in digital media, Yahoo is introducing tools for finding, organising and rating 'podcasts' - the audio programmes designed to be played on Apple iPod and many other portable music players.

The company, which operates the world's most visited website, plans to begin testing the new service on Monday at podcasts.yahoo.com.

Although it can do several things, the free service focuses on making it easier for people to sift through the tens of thousands of podcasts currently available on the Web to find the programming best suited to their personal interests.

'We intend to be the most comprehensive source for podcast content,' said Mr Geoff Ralston, Yahoo's chief product officer.

First heavyweight firm in podcast arena
Yahoo isn't the first website to search podcasts. Specialty websites such as Odeo.com and Podcast.net already do the same thing.

But Yahoo is the first Internet heavyweight to tackle the task. 'We feel like we are really getting ahead of the curve with this,' Mr Ralston said.

It's only a matter of time before Yahoo's rivals, including online search engine leader Google, introduce similar podcasting features, predicted Mr Phil Leigh, an analyst for Inside Digital Media in Tampa, Florida.

Yahoo estimates that up to 5 million people currently listen to podcasts, which run a gamut of topics. Everything from the president's weekly address to ordinary citizens ranting about their pet peeves are available on podcasts.