Audio Internet stuck in 1996 – WARC newsletter April 2019

April 24, 2019

Audio internet stuck in 1996
News, 24 April 2019

The amount of audio-friendly internet content is growing rapidly but the accompanying ecosystem remains embryonic, according to a Google executive, and brands have plenty of scope for experimentation.

Brenda Salinas, who works on Google’s news partnerships, even puts a precise date on where its evolution has reached. “As far as the audio internet, this is where we are: we are in 1996.”

That choice of date relates to the first incarnation of The Washington Post’s website, which was the future then but which looks archaic now.

“[The audio internet] is a very nascent technology and we think it has a bunch of potential, but there are a lot of unanswered questions,” she told the recent World Media Group Briefing on ‘The Impact of Voice & Sound.

“Even the most creative among us are still not sure which way this is going to go,” she added. (For more, read WARC’s report: Patience required with an audio internet ecosystem ‘stuck in the 90s’.)

What, for example, does the audio equivalent of a link sound like? asked Nate Lanxon, Technology Editor at Bloomberg.

He pointed out that podcast listeners – as well as advertisers – must rely on descriptions written by other people to ascertain if content suits their needs.

And he likened this to the wild west days in the 90s, when coders could manipulate early search engines Infoseek and AltaVista with a deceptive use of metatags.

“It was so easy to manipulate [and] that is kind of how we are with podcasts right now. Nobody is analysing the content or doing sentiment analysis on that podcast. We’re still super-reliant on old manual ways of discovering,” he said.

Sourced from WARC