October 9, 2005 9:00 PM PDT

Yahoo launches podcast search site

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Yahoo launched on Monday a podcast service that offers access to much of the streaming audio on the Web and features user reviews and other information about the programming.

Yahoo Podcasts is intended to enable people to easily search podcasts through keywords, categories or user-generated topic tags. The beta site also highlights podcasts of note, those that are particularly popular and user recommendations and ratings, said Geoff Ralston, Yahoo's chief product officer.

Searchers can listen to or subscribe to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds for individual shows or episodes of programming or entire series, he said.

Users who listen to a podcast through the Yahoo site can increase the playback speed to hear the audio at up to twice the actual speed, without the voices sounding like chipmunks.

Yahoo plans to eventually offer tools that will enable people to create their own podcasts, Ralston said.

America Online and Blinkx also offer podcast search services.

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