I have been complaining about the lack of visibility into what you are getting when you click the play button on a podcast or video. For The Dan & David Show, I blog about what we discuss, but I have been too lazy (or busy) to add time codes for when specific parts of our discussion start and end. Even then, users have little control over the content and hence the time spent listening or watching a 30- or 60-minute show can be a time waster.
I've written about Pluggd and its HearHere technology, which converts audio into text and makes the content searchable, displaying heat maps to show where the desired content can be found in the stream. Files have to be preprocessed, which currently takes about half the time of the audio file (20 minutes of audio takes 10 minutes to process).
In addition, HearHere does concept analysis of the content. For example, a mention of the Dodgers will associate with Los Angeles and its original home, Brooklyn.
So far, Pluggd, which also maintains a directory of podcasts, is demoing its HearHere technology with ESPN content, but the company prepping to sign up customers for its audio search service. Later this year, Pluggd will allow users to clip audio content and send it to a friend, add video search and searching across multiple files. At some point, the company will have to integrate some kind of technology to support an ad business model.
As a fun technology demo, Plugged will be processing upcoming President Bush's State of the Union address and the Democratic response on Tuesday. You can search by keyword or click what a tag cloud surfaces. Instead of listening to the full speech, you can find the audio clips relevant to you. The company launched a preview site with last year's speeches (see above) today.