Podable Podcast Sharing Convert Podcast To Text

PPM021: Search, Snip And Share: How Podable Is Turning Podcasts Into Indexable Text

Here at Podcast Power Marketing we’re always on the lookout for new tools that make podcasters lives easier, and this week I had an email drop into my inbox about a beta program for a new online service called Podable, that aims to make podcasts more shareable.

So I thought I thought I’d find out more about Podable, and the people and the company that is building the project, and today I’m talking to Ola Thorn, Master Engineer at Sony Mobile Research and Incubation find out more about Podable, and the ideas behind the service.

You can sign up for the Podable Beta at http://podable.incubation.io/

If you’d like to find out how to start your own professional podcast, head on over to http://podcastpowerblueprint.com and get our FREE 3 videos that will help you get started with podcasting.

Interview Transcript:

On this episode of the Podcast Power Marketing podcast I’m featuring a great tool today cold Podable and featuring an interview with all Ola Thorn the lead developer who’s behind the new tool. Ola works at the Sony research labs in Sweden so without further ado let’s get stuck in straight to the interview and find out more about Podable and how it can help podcasters.

Here at podcast power marketing we’re always on the lookout for new tools that makes podcaster’s lives easier and this week I had an email drop into my inbox about a beta program for a new online service called Podable that aims to make podcasts more shareable so I thought I’d find out more about Podable and the people and the company that’s building the project so today I’m talking to Ola Thorn the master engineer at Sony mobile research and incubation to find out more about Podable and the ideas behind the service

Hey thanks to talking to us today Ola!

Thank you! Thanks for having me on the show.

Now tell us a little bit more about Podable, what it does, and specifically what problem it is trying so solve for podcasters.

Yeah so today it’s a difficult to share part of an audio and a podcast is typically like twenty to forty minutes and it’s not really built for snacking and audio waveforms are quite difficult to navigate since there’s no clear mapping about what you’re talking about on them and what you see on the display.

So I thought that I must be a better way here so what we do now is that we convert the podcast to texts using speech to text and that way we can make the podcasts indexable so you can type a keyword say, Fun, and when you search inside the podcast you get up all the parts where fun is mentioned in the podcast so now it’s really easy to navigate, you can just press on a link and jump to each part where fun is mentioned.

So for example if you would like to share specific parts now you can just mark it as text and then you can preview the audio by pressing play and if you like that part you can the save this clip or you can Share it instantly on Twitter or Facebook.

Wow that’s amazing so in essence Podable as I understand it is basically converting the audio and text to make it indexable for podcasters so that they can basically use the medium of text, which is pretty much how the world of the web works still even from the early days of Google keywords the world of the web still can’t understand audio so you are converting it into a form that the web can basically understand if I understand it correctly

Yeah and that’s a fine description thank you

okay so how did you get the idea for Podable I mean I’m what inspired you to start working on Podable itself and what inspired its creation

Yeah so I am a big fan of podcasts and I listen to podcasts on my way to work so it’s about an hour a day and its amazing that there are so many good podcasts out there but also it’s quite difficult to find them and in my work here with business incubation I thought that’s podcasting is a really interesting area and while it’s been around for many years lots of things that we thought would happen in this space like the last few years but still podcasters have quite a low profile

So if you go onto social media people share pictures or read the articles or share cute cat videos but podcasts are not really shared so when we came up with the idea that we could use speech to text to make podcasts searchable and easy to share we made a prototype and we saw hey, this works quite well so we wanted to know if this was like a real problem

So during the Autumn I started to interview podcasters so first to ask them on a sort of a high level so about what works in podcasting and so on and then what can be improved and later on we asked them if they shared parts of their podcast, and if not why not and it turned out that it was indeed something that can be improved so I went on to show them Podable and they were very positive and so many said they would definitely use it

Yeah for sure I mean discovery is one of the biggest challenges in podcasting, I mean at the moment basically everybody relies on discovery in ITunes and things like recommendation engines and directories and everybody sat in the podcasting world that I know certainly is yeah looking for new ways to get their podcast discovered

And especially when it comes to other disciplines like SEO for their website its much easier to do with text so that’s amazing that you’re working in this area and it’s great to have somebody working on it that is also passionate about listening to podcasts themselves so this is fantastic to have those two skills together so I appreciate your efforts there

now you talked about the speech to text functionality when I tried to Beta program that you very kindly invited me to, speech to text functionality actually seems to be incredibly accurate I mean it recognizes about ninety percent of the words of my podcast even when there is music behind the speech which I found pretty astounding

I mean obviously there are proprietary technologies behind this but can you give us some sort of idea about what it takes to get speech to text accurate and what the challenges are of getting computers to recognize human speech from a file like that

Well though of course there is some variation but you know it works quite well and we’ve been trying out a few different speech to text variants and we think this one is rather good and some challenges can be that if many people are talking simultaneously and interrupting each other of course the audio quality or if the speaker is using broader accents the system is not trained on … also some other challenges too.

Absolutely yeah it must take some quite immense processing power as well, I think you pulling RSS feeds is that right? How does getting audio into them into Podable actually work

Yes so when you sign up on the website you enter your answer your email and your RSS feed and we need to access the audio and process it in order to understand speech to text so when you sign up or if you drop an email to me with your RSS feed we can access it that way

Okay sounds like a great development and there are other podcast sharing platforms out there like Clammr but obviously they’re moving in a different direction they’re actually just cutting up the actual audio and in sharing the actual audio file so I’m really interested to find out … so Podable is in Beta right now and how long has it actually been going and when did you start Podable

Yes it so I’m we started a development project internally around autumn and worked on it and also met a few users and it’s just the last few weeks that we’ve been opening up and inviting people from the podcasting scene to get feedback

So it is quite a new quite a new development for you, is this going to be like a testing platform or do you have some real long term plans what’s the ultimate Podable for you

Yes I really believe me and in the power of taking a podcast and converting them to texts so they are indexable because it’s it really easier to find your favourite parts of a podcast so I believe this is going to be an interesting tool to connect listeners and podcasters in a new way and surface content that’s maybes hidden inside the podcasts that people wouldn’t access otherwise, yeah I think there are many different developments the product can take depending on user feedback and so on

Yeah, one of the key things I saw an instant use for was actually using it for building up my show nights and the transcripts because one of the key things that podcasters are doing right now is a sending off the audio files to people to get them transcribed into text by a human being who sits there listening to it and actually types it all out

That’s totally inefficient for the podcasters and it’s quite expensive to hire somebody by the hour to do that so just looking at the Podable system even that alone proves an amazing benefit even without starting to think about the share ability of it which is incredible

You could just do a few corrections on there on the words that it doesn’t recognize and probably with about ten fifteen minutes you’ve got yourself a complete transcript of your show as well so that is a huge benefit and a huge cost savings are I want to thank you for building this technology because I’m sure you’ve saved podcasters money and time and effort so that’s great

So if podcasters want to try Podable for themselves how can the actually try Podable for themselves and how can they be part of the Beta program and help give feedback and use the system and get involved in the whole Podable community, what is the best way of them doing that?

Yeah so if you go to podable.incubation.io you can sign up with your email and I link to your RSS feed and I’ll send you an email

Well hey Ola I really appreciate said the work that you’re doing that that I think there’s some great things are going to be coming out Podable over the next few months and years and I can’t wait to see how it progresses

Hopefully we can that jump on a call in a few months time as it progresses and keep up to date with the progress of the Podable tool, I think is going to be a really valuable tool for podcasters

Thanks for bringing me on the show, it was good fun!

Simon Dunant
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Simon Dunant

Founder at New Rise Digital
Simon Dunant is the founder of Podcast Power Marketing and digital marketing consultancy New Rise Digital . He also hosts the Podcast Power Marketing podcast on iTunes and is the author of the book "Essential Digital Marketing For Small Business." He has over 15 years experience of helping businesses, creative artists and bloggers make sense of the digital marketing landscape. Simon has hosted 2 previous digital marketing podcasts and has spoken at numerous conferences and events including Midem (Cannes), Popkomm (Berlin), ADE Music Conference (Amsterdam) and Britespace (London).
Simon Dunant
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About The Author

Simon Dunant

Simon Dunant is the founder of Podcast Power Marketing and digital marketing consultancy New Rise Digital . He also hosts the Podcast Power Marketing podcast on iTunes and is the author of the book "Essential Digital Marketing For Small Business." He has over 15 years experience of helping businesses, creative artists and bloggers make sense of the digital marketing landscape. Simon has hosted 2 previous digital marketing podcasts and has spoken at numerous conferences and events including Midem (Cannes), Popkomm (Berlin), ADE Music Conference (Amsterdam) and Britespace (London).

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