Google has announced the latest cull of its services, trimming what are apparently little-used products like Google Listen as it attempts to pare back its range. The most recent in a series of cuts that have seen Buzz and Wave meet their fate, three from Google's current portfolio are losing server-space this time around: Listen, Google Apps for Teams, and Google Video for Business.
In an effort to generate a new audience for the countless podcasts that live on iTunes today, Apple has decided to launch a new app that gives users instant and seamless access to this content. The Podcasts app pulls it all out of iTunes and gives users direct, seamless access to everything from guys recording weekly diatribes in their basement to the official podcasts from big names like ESPN and CBS.
Though not revealed this past week at WWDC 2012, Apple may well be pushing a Podcasts app in its final build of iOS 6 for all the mobile devices it's built for. This information comes from AllThingsD where they've got a tip that the disappearance of podcasts from the newest version of iTunes is the first in a series of signs that portend a future where Apple gives the podcast concept a much bigger spotlight in the iOS universe. Beginning with iTunes on mobile devices and spreading by the end of this year to desktop versions of iTunes, you'll find that the podcast section in the iTunes store will have become something entirely different.
Pro-audio manufacturer AKG are looking to the podcasting crowd with their latest microphone, the Perception 120 USB, and hoping that the promise of studio-quality sound will lure them in. The Perception 120 USB hooks up - as you'd expect - via a single USB connection and contains a 24-bit, 128x oversampling analog to digital converter.
Apple have released firmware version 2.2 for the iPhone, bringing with it Google Street View, over-the-air podcast downloads (using both WiFi and cellular networks) and public transport/walking directions. The 246MB download also includes the ability to share your location via email, increases the stability and performance of Safari, and reduces errors in the Mail app.
If you like listening to podcasts while on the go or even while just lounging at home, a new device called the Castgrabber is geared toward making listening to podcasts a super easy experience that requires no PC computer to hook up to.
The Castgrabber Podcast Downloader connects itself to the Internet automatically in order to download your favorite podcasts onto your PMP. A connection to the Internet is all you need. This takes some of the complication out of the process with syncing and all. All you have to do is select what you want to listen to through iTunes or your web browser.
This device is rather amazing, it allows you to record your podcasts and interviews on the fly, directly to your iPod. Then it automatically syncs, and can even auto upload, that content the next time you sync your iPod.
Having not long set up push-email on the loaner Treo 750 I've got (look for a review soon on SlashGear!), I'm starting to understand how people can get addicted to their instantaneous mail delivery. And I also know the aching, crippling pain of sitting there waiting for mail to drop in. So impatient BlackBerry owners might be interested to hear that QuickPlay have launched a subscription-based streaming audio service of over 100 audiocasts (think: 5-7 minute podcasts).
For $7.96 a month (plus the necessary network data charges) you can choose from such providers as ABC News, AccuWeather.com, Clear Channel, Gaiam, MarketWatch.com, The Wall Street Journal and Westwood One. Content is updated daily, and the program will run on the BlackBerry 7130e and 8700 series as well as the Pearl.
There's a review here and another screen-shot after the cut...
Promising to "Play the web", Songbird is a new music programme that, amongst other things, can scrape a website or blog to gather up all the audio files. Based on the open-source code base that Firefox uses, not only will Songbird index all the music on your PC (making it an alternative to WMP or iTunes), but it can do the same for Wikipedia, Audioscrobbler and any url you choose to examine.
Once it has assessed a site, you can then instruct it to monitor for any new files added and automatically download them. Think of it as a combined audio player and podcasting manager, only you don't necessarily need to download a file to play it - Songbird can create m3u playlists on-the-fly to stream any number of audio files from a site.
We've so far resisted the urge to jump on the podcasting bandwagon here at SlashGear; the market is running close to saturation point with thousands of vocal opinion-junkies clamouring at the ears of the vaguely interested. It can be tricky sifting through the masses of mp3s to find something worth listening to, and the wildly varying recording standards don't do much to help matters. Perhaps most frustrating is when levels of volume don't match up - one pundit is far louder than another, maybe, or intermittent music booms out over everything else - meaning you're constantly twiddling the volume dial like a cheap DJ.