Last night, I requested an invite to Odeo, Noah Glass and Evan Williams’s new podcasting portal. Shortly after, I received an invitation, and signed up. Odeo claims to offer its users a podcasting holy trinity: “Listen, Sync, Create.”
On the “Listen” level, Odeo is a user-friendly podcast directory. It’s got some nice features: tagging (a la Flickr), audio previews and individual Odeo RSS feeds for each podcast, comments, and personalized subscription lists and queues. I was able to browse podcasts, listen to samples, view past episodes (or “Shows,” as Odeo calls them), and add feeds and shows to my subscription list and queue.
To actually get content onto my iPod, I had to download the OdeoSyncr. As a podcatching app, the Mac version is pretty bare-bones. There’s a big pink “Sync Now” button, and a link to an online settings page. Simple as it was, it performed its stated functions; it connected to Odeo, got a list of my feeds, and downloaded them into iTunes. The About page states that the program is based on iPodder, feedparser, and BitTorrent technology. Downloads seemed a bit slow, so perhaps this client is using some sort of distributed peer-to-peer network to alleviate server strain?
Additionally, it would be nice if OdeoSyncr could add ID3 info to content before putting it in iTunes (like iPodderX does). Then I could use my existing iTunes smart playlists to filter content.
The “Create” section of the site isn’t up and running yet. The page says “We’re not ready to open the doors on the Create side of Odeo’s “Listen, Sync, Create” just yet, because we want to make sure everything’s working well and can handle the demand.”
But, I successfully added Metro Morning’s podcast to the directory, and was able to download content. Frustratingly, only one of the four daily items (the oldest) was automatically added to my download queue.
All-in-all, Odeo’s not there yet. Promising, though. Then again, if Apple can build some sort of magical tagging system into its podcasting support for iTunes, I’ll have no use for Odeo.