Text to Speech and Back Again

Michael Hiemstra, MAKE: Blog, and others are writing about Speakwire, a website that converts the text of RSS feeds to audible speech.

It’s a neat idea that got me thinking. What about going the other way, from speech to text?

Podcasts are all-audio, which means traditional search engines, like Google, can’t index them very well. Search engines must rely on text descriptions that accompany podcasts in order to guess at their contents. Are there any webapps that automatically convert podcasts to text, or search the text of podcasts?

As it happens, there is: Podscope. From the FAQ,

Podscope is the first search engine that actually allows you to search for spoken words within any audio or video file. We’re starting with podcasts and will be adding all types of multimedia in coming months.

Dang! There goes that million dollar idea.

I wonder if they’re planning on adding a PubSub-style utility where you could subscribe to a search and be notified when new hits appear. That might be worth a million bucks. Of course, now that I’ve mentioned it, Bob Wyman will probably whip up a prototype in a couple of days.