Google Podcasts is transcribing full podcast episodes for improving search results

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On Tuesday, Android Police reported that Google Podcasts is automatically transcribing episodes. It is using these transcripts as metadata to help users find the podcasts they want to listen even if they don’t know its title or when it was published.

Though this is coming into light now, Google’s plan of using transcripts for improving search results has already been shared even before the app was actually launched. In an interview with Pacific Content, Zack Reneau-Wedeen, Google Podcasts product manager, said that Google could “transcribe the podcast and use that to understand more details about the podcast, including when they are discussing different topics in the episode.

This is not a user-facing feature but instead works in the background. You can see the transcription of these podcasts in the web page source of the Google Podcasts web portal. After getting a hint from a user, Android Police searched for “Corbin dabbing port” instead of Corbin Davenport, a writer for Android Police. Sure enough, the app’s search engine showed Episode 312 of the Android Police Podcast, his podcast, as the top result:


Source: Android Police

The transcription is enabled by Google’s Cloud Speech-to-Text transcription technology. Using transcriptions of such a huge number of podcasts Google can do things like including timestamps, index the contents, and make text easily searchable. This will also allow Google to actually “understand” what is being discussed in the podcasts without having to solely rely on the not-so-detailed notes and descriptions given by the podcasters.

This could prove to be quite helpful if users don’t remember much about the shows other than a quote or interesting subject matter and make searching frictionless. As a user-facing feature, this could be beneficial for both a listener and a creator. “It would be great if they would surface this as feature/benefit to both the creator and the listener. It would be amazing to be able to timestamp, tag, clip, collect and share all the amazing moments I’ve found in podcasts over the years, “ said a Twitter user.

Read the full story on Android Police.

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