Listen Notes is new and appears to be the podcast search-engine we’ve all been waiting for. At long last. Plus, it’s a very pleasing service. Fast, comprehensive, and simple to use, if in need of a few hours of graphical and UI polishing. This is what it looks like for me (I immediately perma-blocked its row of distracting examples of ‘most searched for’).

There’s a date-order filter. It’s not yet perfect in its search handling, though. For instance, search for:

“West Midlands”

… and then for

“West Midlands” -BBC

No results at all for the latter search, despite the first set of results containing a number of non-BBC podcasts related to the West Midlands. Curious. Nor does it knock out unwanted results using NOT, which some sites such as 3D Warehouse use. Given the overbearing online verbosity of the BBC, it seems a pity they can’t be excluded from results in favour of a wider variety of grassroots podcasts. As far as I can tell it’s impossible to modify results by excluding some keywords. If that’s down to a server workload problem, it seems a pity that a half-dozen exceptions can’t be offered, such as -BBC -NPR etc.

There’s also a very comprehensive and seemingly unbiased Directory with categories which, with a little drilling, gets you to sub-categories like History podcasts. Navigating the Directory is rather haphazard at present, but the another option is to Google thus…

site:www.listennotes.com/directory/ wildlife

… which in this case will quickly indicate that you’ll need to browse the directory pages to the Local | Outdoor | and Government categories, and that you’ll be wasting your time looking for any mention of the word “wildlife” in Natural Sciences podcasts.

There’s no keyword-based date-order search results to be had by RSS, which would work as a form of alerts service, but it’s good to see that each podcast’s own RSS feed is prominent on each show’s profile card.

Interestingly, there’s an offer: “Buy podcast database for $1000 flat fee”. It looks as though it’s actually worth the price, though given the lifespan of podcasts you’d then have to do some serious ongoing work to maintain and repair it.

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