Seattle based start-up Pluggd opened their podcast directory for public use today; the company aims to make podcast listening easier for nontechnical users. It has several features that I think look great.
Company CEO Alex Castro came from Microsoft, with an emphasis in multimedia. The Pluggd team also has members with backgrounds at Real and ESPN.com.
The Pluggd search engine actively crawls the web for new podcasts to index, instead of relying only on user submissions. The podcast player can be put in a pop-up from the listening page, so you can navigate around or off of the Pluggd site without breaking the podcast you are listening to. The site design is totally unpretentious without looking unprofessional, too, I like that.
The service takes two thematic approaches that are interesting. First, Pluggd believes that social networking and podcast listening work well together. That means that commenting and list sharing are available throughout the site. Second, the company believes that the majority of podcast listeners are listening at work and at school, in a web browser instead of a mobile device. There has been a growing chorus of voices arguing that prime time media consumption hours are shifting from night time to 9 to 5 work hours and Pluggd seems well positioned to respond to that.
The podcast directory space couldn’t be much more crowded, but I like this one. Presuming that all the early kinks get worked out, it looks good.