Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Contextual Audio Search - another Step..

With every passing minute, the kind of exhaustive research that goes on in the field of 'search-on-the-net' has taken new dimensions. Pluggd, lauched in Feb'06 by a team of ex-Microsoft/BEA/Amazon/Trilogy folks takes it across a new domain - to search within a podcast. The State of the Union Smackdown between US President George W. Bush and the Democrats was the most talked about event in the last week. (well, even the international media has given considerable coverage to the same). The entire podcast has been put on Pluggd, but what is notable is that if you want to search for a specific word, say "gasoline", then Pluggd's HearHere technology generates a heat map that displays the results. But it isn't plain speech recognition that is used here. Its more of semantic analysis that goes into the entire heatmap generation, since there is no point just taking the user to the part of speech where the word has been used. Pluggd rather, tries to make the beginning and end of the discussion pertaining to that word..

You can just traverse to the highly heated points on the heatmap(the red areas) and just play the part which contains the usage of 'gasoline'. The trick for audio search lies in contextual search, since there are no words really to do a direct crawling search the way Google et al do. So suppose you are searching for 'Chicago Bulls' and ESPN has a podcast for it, then even if the podcast topic doesn't contain the phrase 'Chicago Bulls', it'll still display the result for you. Quite brilliant, must say. Needless, to say its again free registration(a matter of couple of minutes) and the easy-to-use user interface compel you to visit again. Other regulars do include review/rating the podcast and RSS feed.

P.S: Google/Amazon/Yahoo/Microsoft.. acquisition time, huh? ;). After all total revenue in the world's media and broadcast technology supply industry is valued at $11.6 billion and is predicted to grow 11.4% year per year.
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