Yahoo.com has released a new Podcasting index that is currently in beta. It works with the Mac, or Windows and is even capable of using iTunes as the Podcast client.
So why use Yahoo when this is already built into iTunes 5? That was my first question too. One reason might be that iTunes, though being the first to do a good job of integrating the Podcast aggregator into a Podcast catalog, has not done all that it could. Apple has add the support to iTunes and the iTunes music store, but the support is rudimentary and a little clunky.
Yahoo hopes to change that. And, given that they allow users to tie Yahoo Podcasts directly into iTunes, they are really only circumventing Apple’s Podcast directory and substituting their own.
After my first look at the new Yahoo service, I am fairly impressed. The interface is fast and easy to understand. If you already have a My Yahoo account, the service ties into that login and you are ready to start subscribing. When you subscribe, the web browser simply hands the subscription off to iTunes. iTunes then deals with the subscription updates, playing of the of material, and synchronization with iPods.
I really appreciate the Yahoo service when it comes to searching. It is much easier to search the Podcast directory via Yahoo Podcasts, once again showing the limitation of the iTunes Music Store.
Yahoo Podcasts also allows users to write their own reviews of the Podcasts. This type of user interaction will be essential to anyone wishing to only subscribe to quality Podcasts. This should finally prevent users from having to weed through endless self-indulgent feeds simply to find the content rich episodes worth listening to.
One thing that does seem to be missing so far is support for Vidcasts. It is possible that I simply have not found any at this point. But it is also possible that the feature has not yet been added. Since the service is still in beta, we can expect new features in the near future. Google really missed the boat on this service.
Give Yahoo Podcasts a try here.