AOL to upgrade podcast search

The Internet giant has added new programs to its podcast offering and says it will enhance search options soon.

America Online on Wednesday announced plans to add search options to its podcast offering by this fall.

A podcast "search and discovery" feature will be added via a new version of Winamp Media Player, while another search option will become available as a result of a new deal with TVEyes, AOL said. The new features are likely to become available this fall, according to the company.

The Podscope search engine from TVEyes will be integrated with AOL Search, the Internet firm said, noting that Podscope will allow users to discover additional podcasts through spoken-word indexing.

Podcasts are radio-like shows that can be downloaded from the Internet to a computer or digital music player. They differ from traditional radio in that they allow listeners to "time shift," or listen to programs at their leisure. Podcasting is also different because the means of production and distribution is readily available to anyone. Podcasting is catching the attention of technology companies and even venture capital firms.

AOL's main podcasting feature, called Podcasting 101, includes programs from the eclectic Santa Monica, Calif., FM station KCRW, "This Week in Tech," "Sports Bloggers Live," "Reel Reviews," as well as feeds from the BBC, CNN and other sources. The company said original-programming podcasts from AOL Music, Moviefone, AOL Coaches and KOL (kids), and RED (teens) will be added in the coming months.

"Over the next few months, we will be expanding our podcast experience with more exclusive and original programming--from AOL and from partners--and adding more advanced search options," Bill Wilson, senior vice president of programming at AOL, said in a statement.

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