We've just rolled out our latest multimedia search engine into Beta: Yahoo! Audio Search, and we'd like you to take a look at it on Next.yahoo.com. It's a work in progress, but if you've been reading the press at all these days, audio publishing is taking on new life and we feel we need to get some tools out there to help connect those who are listening to those who are talking, and singing, and sounding off...
Every voice should be heard
Audio publishing is beginning to flourish again. Through its many machinations and legal growing pains, online audio is finding legitimate legs to stand on, in many different voices, and it's starting to get exciting. What we're building - and what you're seeing here - is more of a platform in its early stages; an open search platform on which we can build the tools to help users find both existing and new forms of audio content as they emerge.
Y! Audio Search is the largest index of audio content on the Web today, with over 50 million audio files (consider that the average music service has 1 million files, and the next largest audio engine has 12.5 million).
This includes structured data from music service catalogs, but more importantly crawled data from across the Web. Yahoo! Audio Search is, and will continue to be, the most comprehensive and - most importantly - open system for finding audio content of any type on the Web. Period.
Open is a key term, here. It means we will index everything we've crawled, regardless of file format or source. It also means we give everyone a voice: from the major music services with access to the newest and largest mainstream catalogs, to the smallest independent publisher. So, whether you're podcasting, listening to mainstream or independent music, finding newscasts or interviews, or sampling sound effects, you're going to find it through Yahoo! Audio Search, and we're going to keep on scouring for you.
We've started off by hitting some key categories of audio content, and tried to tie in the most relevant information to make them searchable.
Clearly, music has to be addressed in any audio search system. Yahoo!
already has a world-class music destination with Yahoo! Music, and just recently announced its new on-demand service and client, Yahoo! Music Unlimited and the Yahoo! Music Engine, respectively (which are both worth a look, if you haven't already!).
So why add Audio Search? Currently the situation with music services is that no one service will have everything a user may want --- no one has every song, podcast, and audio file in the universe. So, while we firmly believe in our own products (which are mighty comprehensive), with search in particular we know it's important to objectively give users the tools to find what they want, and if that means finding content that exists on someone else's service, so be it. We've still provided a valuable service to our users.
Playing the Long Tail
Audio Search is performing a key function here: we're giving insight into all audio content with an objective lens, from catalogs of music services, to the largest catalog of all - and perhaps the most important - the Web.
We've also extended our Media
RSS syndication program to include our audio index to help improve the timeliness and depth of our tail content. Why? Because even with the new music services coming online, there are still artists out there who have not signed with a major label or service, and who are trying to find an audience and get some momentum. By tying our Web crawled index and our mRSS inclusion with our structured catalog data, users can find what they want and everyone is going to get heard.
Clearly, this Beta we've launched is only a first step, but a very important one towards fulfilling the overall vision of Yahoo! Search; there's a lot of audio out there and a lot of new ways to FUSE it, (find, use, share, and expand). From indexing radio streams, to applying new and unique licenses around new content (please explore Creative Commons), to allowing users to create and share playlists (we're pretty excited about . XSPF) - to many more things we cannot divulge
;-) - you're going to be seeing a lot innovation coming out of Audio Search.
(Of course, there will also be some tuning of the system we've just launched, so please, please keep sending us feedback and keep discussing.)
Give us a whirl and see what we can find for you. But maybe more importantly, get your microphones out and lay down your rants (or "opinions"
;-) Plug in your guitars and strum a few bars. Crank the amps to 11, and ... hit record. Post it, feed it to us, and most importantly, search us.
Yahoo! Audio Search has started listening because you've got something to say.
Learn more about Yahoo! Audio Search here.
Product Manager, Audio Search