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Spoken Word Search Analyzes Audio Content

Innumerable audio files available on the Web make searching based on keywords or metadata tricky. But spoken-word search technology is making it easier for enterprises to find the right audio

   



Spoken-word search is expected to reduce the burden placed on audio and video content creators to make their work easier to find on the Internet. Spoken word search should raise the usefulness of podcasting and thereby help perpetuate the growth of the podcast medium.

TVEyes, with its Podscope service, is a major player for searching within audio content. Podzinger and Blinkx offer similar services. AOL is beta testing an audio search engine based on TVEyes' technology and Lycos has signed on with Blinkx to build multimedia search capabilities. Vendors such as Google, MSN and Yahoo do not currently offer spoken-word search capabilities.



The ever-increasing number of audio files available on the Web makes searching based on keywords or metadata unreliable and difficult. Spoken-word search technology will greatly assist podcasts that would otherwise be buried on the Web. AOL's licensing of spoken-word search legitimizes the field; expect Google, MSN and Yahoo to adopt this technology in some fashion..

The popularity of podcasts and online audio is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, 7.7 million people will be listening to podcasts weekly by 2010, versus an estimated 1.5 million listeners in 2006, according to Bridge Ratings, a provider of radio-audience trend information. With an increase in the quantity of available audio content, however, comes the question of how to find relevant content within audio files.

To address this, a few companies have developed a technology that applies spoken-word search techniques to audio content, as well as to the audio portion of video files. TVEyes' Podscope search engine, for instance, ferrets out audio content on the Web, then uses speech-recognition algorithms on that content, generating an index that can be searched by consumers and business users alike.

Although the use of spoken-word search is bound to make inroads into the consumer space first, it holds potential for use in the enterprise as well, just as instant messaging, blogging and wikis have. Although three big search vendors, Google, MSN and Yahoo, have yet to take outwardly visible action surrounding spoken-word technology, AOL has partnered with TVEyes, and launched a beta of TVEyes' search engine on its site this summer. We expect momentum around spoken-word search to continue to build, whether based on TVEyes' technology or a competing one.

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