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Pluggd, a Seattle based startup, has raised $1.65m in funding from Intel and angel investors to help it start distributing its technology.

Pluggd is a podcast directory, but what makes it special is its ‘HearHere’ technology, which allows users to search within audio internet programming to find the segments they want.

The technology involved is stunning – when listening to a podcast, you can select the search option and find the section which you’re interested in.

HearHere is only available as a demo on the site at the moment, with the examples all ESPN podcasts. For instance, you can type in the word ‘injury’ and Pluggd will display a heatmap which shows where that word occurs in the podcast.

The really clever part is the way that Pluggd finds related words. When you search for the word ‘injury’, Pluggd will give you related words, such as ‘surgery’, or ‘elbow’. Pluggd manages this by having its crawler scan thousands of sports webpages and finding a statistical relationship between the words.

While the technology is currently being applied to podcasting, there are future plans to widen its use across the web. CEO Alex Castro would like to get it onto other sites, saying he will give the technology away for free, as long as he gets a cut of associated ad revenue.

Alex Castro came from Microsoft, with a background in multimedia. The Pluggd team also has members with experience at Real and ESPN.com.

The funding comes from Intel, though more than half comes from a group of angels, including Scott Oki and Paul Maritz from Microsoft, and Alex Alban and mark Klebanoff, both formerly of Real Networks.

There are other podcast directories out there, some of which use speech recognition. Podzinger allows you to search audio, but it doesn’t have the added value of the analysis of terms related to your search query.

With a first VC funding round due next year, and announcements of partnerships in the offing, you will be hearing more about Pluggd and its search technology.

Also, with podcasts reportedly failing to catch on, this kind of technology may encourage people to listen more, as it allows them to access only the relevant segments.

Graham Charlton

Published 8 December, 2006 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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