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Last Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Podcasts catch Yahoo's interest
Chris Moyles, BBC
Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles has turned to podcasting
Tuning into the latest web trend, Yahoo has launched a site that lets people find and listen to podcasts.

The site lets people search for and subscribe to the personally produced audio programmes designed to be downloaded to portable music players.

It also features reviews of noteworthy podcasts and will let listeners rate the downloads they have listened to.

Yahoo said it was working towards producing its own tools to help people make their own podcasts.

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Podcasting has arisen in the wake of the rising popularity of blogs, online music stores and portable music players such as Apple's iPod.

In essence, podcasts are discrete audio programmes that people can subscribe to, download and listen to on their portable player, and have been likened to DIY radio shows.

At the same time many mainstream broadcasters, such as the BBC, are turning to podcasts to let listeners get hold of programmes they would otherwise miss.

Just as with web journals or blogs, it is possible to subscribe to a feed that automatically pushes out the latest version of a podcast to its listeners.

Podcast search services are already offered by sites such as Odeo, Podcast.net and Blinkx but Yahoo is the first of the net's giants to offer a dedicated site.

Eventually Yahoo said it would make available tools to help people put together and upload their own podcasts.

"Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the future of search is in audio and video. Searching through text on the internet has really reached a maturity point," Phil Leigh, an analyst for Inside Digital Media told the Associated Press Agency.

"If you look 10 years down the road, everyone is going to be searching for podcasts."

Despite the popularity of the iPod and downloadable music, podcasts still only reach a relatively small audience. Yahoo estimates that around the world only five million people regularly download the audio shows.

A survey last month showed that 90% of the British people regarded as barometers of popular views (taxi drivers, hairdressers and pub landlords) did not know what a podcast was.


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