The best way to search for podcasts

Finally, a search engine that helps you find exactly what you want to hear -- complete with email alerts and "save for later" listening.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
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Looking for podcasts that discuss, say, hot topics like HQ Trivia? Listen Notes is the search engine to try.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

It's easy enough to use a search engine to find a particular podcast. For example, are you a fan of Battlestar Galactica? Just hit up Bing, Google or Yahoo and you're pretty likely to locate (shameless self-promotion alert!) Battlestar Recaptica, a podcast devoted to the show.

But suppose you're interested in actor Edward James Olmos, who played Admiral Adama. Or suppose you're interested in the physics of space travel. Now you're not looking for a specific podcast, but rather any one in which Olmos was interviewed, or that focuses on outer space.

Enter Listen Notes, a new search engine designed to help you find podcasts containing people, places or topics.

The service has cataloged nearly 500,000 podcasts -- some 30 million episodes. Using it is like using any search engine: just type in what you're after. ("Edward James Olmos," anyone? We haven't landed him on Recaptica just yet, but he did appear on a show called Electric Shadow last year. I discovered that via a ListenNotes search.)

Search results will direct you to iTunes, RSS feeds and websites, where available, but you can also use an inline player to listen to an episode on the spot.

You can also toggle the results between "episodes" and "podcasts," sort by date or relevance and filter by just about any language.

If you'd rather browse, Listen Notes offers headings like Podcaster Interviews, Best Podcasts, Hot Podcasts and Curated Podcasts. Then there's Listen Later, a new feature that's akin to Pocket or Instapaper: As you find episodes you want to listen to, just click the add-to-playlist button. That builds a Listen Later playlist, which itself has an RSS feed you can import into your podcast player.

Finally, there's Listen Alerts, which is Listen Notes' answer to Google Alerts: You get email notifications of new podcasts that mention your preferred keywords -- people, places, companies and so on.

For the avid podcast listener, ListenNotes is a truly handy tool, and far better than relying on a regular search engine.

Editors' note: This post was originally published on Nov. 28, 2017, and has since been updated.