Matter, a GV-backed read-it-later app that competes broadly with apps like Pocket and Instapaper, though with more of a focus on reading recommendations, is today launching a new way to use its app. The company this morning is debuting “Readable Podcasts,” a feature that will let you save favorite podcasts and transcribe their audio to text. By doing so, you can use Matter’s other tools to interact with the podcast content as you would a saved article, including by doing things like highlighting, taking notes and sharing quotes.
As you listen to the podcast, the audio transcript and text are kept in sync so you can seamlessly switch back and forth between listening and reading. This allows you to pause the podcast if you want to re-read a particular section or look up something the podcast hosts were discussing.
Or, if you’re trying to get through a dense podcast more quickly, the feature would allow you to skim the transcript so you could just jump to the key areas of interest, instead of having to fast-forward or listen to the audio at a faster speed.
According to Matter co-founder Ben Springwater, the new feature is powered by the combination of a third-party transcription service along with Matter’s own proprietary system to label speakers and ensure transcript quality.
What’s more, users don’t have to give up their favorite podcast app in order to use the new functionality. That is, instead of subscribing to a podcast in Matter itself, you’ll instead share the podcast you want to transcribe from your existing podcast app using the Save extension from the iOS Share Sheet. At launch, Matter supports Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Castro and Pocket Casts.
Once shared to Matter, the podcast is transcribed to text and can be interacted with just as if you had saved an article for later reading. This not only helps those who don’t have time to listen to a show or who want to annotate the material, it also unlocks the content found in audio, making it accessible to those who aren’t auditory learners or who are hearing-impaired.
The app supports a variety of languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, Finnish, Korean, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.
“Podcasts are a gateway to expert knowledge,” said Springwater, in announcing the launch. “But audio is ephemeral, and much of that knowledge slips away. Readable Podcasts unlocks the knowledge in podcasts for the first time.”
Since closing on its $7 million Series A in 2021, Matter has grown to “tens of thousands” of active users and thousands of paying subscribers for its premium product. For $7.99 per month or $59.99 per year, Matter subscribers can do things like listen to articles at 2x speed in realistic-sounding voices, integrate Matter with their notes apps, Kindle, Gmail and other services, and now, leverage advanced AI transcriptions for both podcasts and YouTube.
The company doesn’t yet support private podcast feeds, but says that feature is in the works. However, it’s not able to transcribe from Spotify exclusives, as they’re not open access, it says.
Matter’s app is available for iOS and via a web browser on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.