Apple has reportedly acquired Pop Up Archive, a small Oakland-based company that builds tools for searching spoken audio including podcasts (via Peter Kafka). Pop Up Archive, which makes a tool called Audiosear.ch, shut its services down last month without an explanation.
Pop Up Archive and the Audiosear.ch sites both present messages about the shut down now:
Hey there! Pop Up Archive shut down operations and ended support on 11/28/17. […]
Hey there! We ended operations and support for Audiosear.ch on 11/28/17. We’ve loved seeing what you’ve built with this technology and are grateful for your support over the years.
While both websites are now mostly offline, Crunchbase has a detailed description of Pop Up Archive:
Pop Up Archive is an online platform of tools for organizing and searching digital spoken words. It makes sounds searchable using its speech-to-text technology.
Audiosear.ch is a full-text search and recommendation engine for podcasts and radio — powering the best podcast experiences by automatically knowing everything about podcasts. The Audiosear.ch platform turns speech into text, indexes it, and analyzes it to create millions of data points (i.e. topics, entities, people, recommendations). We help audio distributors, platforms, and advertisers improve listener experiences, audio discovery, and content targeting.
Pop Up Archive was launched by Anne Wootton and Bailey Smith in 2012 and is operated from Oakland, California.
I don’t have personal experience with Pop Up Archive, but the idea of using speech-to-text tech to potentially transcribe podcasts and make content searchable is really compelling if reliable.
Hopefully this acquisition leads to more of those promised new features for podcasts that Eddy Cue teased out earlier this year. iOS 11 brought support for seasons, analytics, and more, but searchable speech could be a big accessibility benefit for Apple Podcasts.